UPDATE: Hoku spokeswoman Amy Burks said the company is close to signing a deal with Union Pacific for a road and is “nowhere near closure.” The original headline for this story, ‘Hoku faces closure if Pocatello doesn’t add another access road,’ was changed due to the inaccuracy.
Pocatello and Hoku have to figure out a way to build another access road into the industrial plant,
or the company faces closure. According to fire code, a place like Hoku needs to have two ways out, in case of an emergency, but they currently only have one entrance and exit at Kraft Road.
Until now, Hoku has been using a temporary route through Union Pacific property during construction. With that construction now done, they’ll need to find another way out.
Right now, officials are floating two options. The city is negotiating with Union Pacific to build an emergency vehicle-only bridge at Philbin Road, or a more permanent bridge over the tracks at Batiste Road.
If Hoku is allowed to build a bridge themselves, construction can start immediately, but if the city builds it, it could be two years before crews break ground.
Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad said either way, the taxpayers won’t pay for the bridge, the money will come out of Hokus pocket.
But the negotiations still have a lot of impact on some locals. Residents who live along Kraft road said the daily onslaught of traffic has been a living nightmare. From Local News 8:
“When quitting time comes, about 5:20 or 5:30, you can’t even get out of your driveway,” Elizebeth Ponce said.
But they said it isn’t just an inconvenience; it gets dangerous.
“They’ve hit my dog. They killed my dog. They hit my neighbors goat and killed that goat,” Ponce said.
The Pocatello City Council will vote on the Philbin Road bridge proposal at Thursday night’s meeting. If the road is approved and truly used for emergency vehicles only, it might not help the residents of Kraft Road at all.
[via Local News 8]