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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Radio station owner contests state estimate

Associated Press

KALISPELL, Mont. — A radio station owner here now says it will cost $4.7 million — more than four times his earlier estimate — to relocate his station so a stretch of U.S. 93 can be widened, and he wants the state to pay for the move.

An attorney for owner John Stokes told a judge Monday that the state Department of Transportation should be halted from moving forward with construction if it refuses to consider Stokes’ new estimate.

Monday’s hearing was the latest development in a condemnation case the state filed in 2001 over a sliver of land outside the KGEZ-AM radio station that Stokes owns. The state said it needs the land to widen a portion of U.S. 93 that runs through the area.

Stokes has challenged the state’s assessment of the value of his property and contends that he would suffer significant monetary damages.

Stokes and his attorney, Wade Dahood, contend that vibrations and road noise from the widened highway, which will come within a few feet of the station, will make it impossible to broadcast from the location, and the station and its equipment must be moved.

“Our experts tell us that the station cannot function once the highway is done,” Dahood, argued Monday.

James Lewis, an attorney for the state Department of Transportation, challenged that argument Monday, noting that heavy construction now going on just outside the station has not disrupted broadcasts.

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