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Chester residents concerned about proposed changes to US 20 intersections

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Greater capacity, higher traveling speed and fewer accidents are some of the benefits of consolidating intersections on US 20 from Chester to Ashton.

Some people in Chester feel they are being unheard. They don't like ITD's proposal to close the current entrances and exits to US 20 and consolidate them into two interchanges. Opponents said effectively it cuts their community in half.


"That's kind of the heart of the Chester area,” former Fremont County commissioner Skip Hurt said.

"The ball diamond over there, and there's a pavilion over there where they have church activities, post offices on that side. The folks on this side, on the east side would be isolated from that. They would have to go around," Hurt said.

Several members of the Chester community gathered 100 signatures in the last year, petitioning the transportation department to build an overpass so they can keep their community together.

"If they won't build a bridge across the freeway here, it actually just slices the community right in two,” Chester resident Keith Blanchard said. "There's about four farmers that have land on either side of the highway. And if they have to go clear around to get back to their farms, it's a big problem every day," he said.

But the group says they’ve been told by ITD representatives the area people are proposing an overpass is a wetland. Several endangered species make this area their home.

"It didn't cost too much money down at Sugar City,” Hurt said. "They put two overpasses within a mile of each other, and one was to accommodate buses. Well, we have buses up and down these roads all the time. We have people accessing the freeway all the time."

ITD said in its proposal they did talk to Chester homeowners when making their plans.

Local News 8 reached out to ITD asking if they could respond to some of these concerns. They've agreed to meet on Monday.

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Seth Ratliff

Seth is a reporter for Local News 8.


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