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Dispute over US 95 interchange heads to trial

COEUR D’ALENE — A right-of-way dispute between a developer and the Idaho Transportation Department over a planned highway interchange near Athol is going to trial next month.

Developer Hughes Investments owns 56 acres at the northeast corner of state Highway 54 and U.S. Highway 95, and the Idaho Transportation Department wants to use 16 acres for an interchange. But the Coeur d’Alene Press reports the company declined to accept the state’s offer for the land, and now the dispute is headed to court.

Department spokeswoman Barbara Babic says right-of-way negotiations are confidential and won’t comment. Alan Johnson with Hughes says the department offered the company about 40 percent of what the land is worth. Hughes Investments is planning to build a travel center, grocery store and hotel on the rest of the property.