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Road work in Madison County causing business loss

Construction on Highway 20 near Rexburg isn’t just giving drivers a headache.

Business owners within a one-mile radius of the construction say they’re losing thousands of dollars because of the road work.

The traffic signs and orange construction barrels let drivers know to slow down; but for nearby business owners, they have a different meaning.

“This is generally our busiest time of year,” said Courtney Ferguson, VP of Yellowstone Bear World. “In May, our visitation was up 20 percent and in June, we were flat because of the construction. Now it’s July and we’re still flat, so we’re excited for the end of construction season.”

For the last month and a half, Yellowstone Bear World has seen a double-digit decrease in the number of park visitors.

Workers say the construction doesn’t appeal to tourists and many will opt not to deal with it.

“We didn’t know about it ahead of time, but if we had it could have changed things some,” said Charles Briner, who is visiting from Dallas, TX. “It was pretty slow.”

And across the highway, the Shell Gas Station is also dealing with construction difficulties.

“Our sales were down $80,000 just in June alone, from the construction closing us off here,” said Joel Jenkins, gas station owner.

The entrance to the gas station is completely blocked off from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

“People can’t get off the road or get on the road and it’s just been such a headache for everybody,” said Jenkins.

Originally, the Idaho Transportation Department was supposed to have this project wrapped up by late June.

Delays have pushed back that date to late July.

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