BOISE, Idaho — Ada County Highway District's road construction project at State Street and Collister Drive began in November. Now, eight months later, a business owner says he will have lost $1 million by the project's end this fall.
"We're supposed to be convenience, and we're not convenient at this point," said Mike Zehner, owner of On the Fly Gas Mart. "I have good friends that stay away from this part of State Street because it's a rat-race zoo around here. Fortunately, I have not had to lay anybody off, but it is getting really tight."
After the Collister project, ACHD will move up State Street to realign Pierce Park Lane at an angle, making it safer for drivers to merge into heavy traffic. That project is expected to begin sometime next year.
"Part of that project is re-aligning Pierce Park [Lane] so it hits State Street at a different angle [so] it's safer for drivers, you have a better view," said ACHD spokesperson Natalie Shaver.
A Jackson's Food Store lies directly in the path of the planned road. Unlike On the Fly, ACHD is required to purchase the privately-owned convenience store, according to Idaho state code on eminent domain.
Since Zehner's store technically has two entrances, ACHD is not responsible for any losses - no matter how big the losses may be.
"We compensate a business if all access is completely cut off, meaning there's no way that anyone can get there because of our project," Shaver said. "If there is still access, we don't compensate."
ACHD has made an attempt to help State Street businesses. In April, ACHD held the "Shop State" event, encouraging shoppers to post #ShopState on their social media accounts, making them eligible for prizes.
"Any construction project is going to have an impact on businesses and people who live and work in an area where we are doing a project, so we do everything we can here at the highway district to make it easier for them," Shaver said.
After the close of the Collister and Pierce Park projects, ACHD will eventually begin work with the Idaho Transportation Department at the State Street and Glenwood Street intersection. This is the final planned construction project along State Street.