Inner Belt Loop Project Breaks Ground - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Inner Belt Loop Project Breaks Ground

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City council members broke ground Thursday for the Inner Belt Loop project.

The Inner Belt Loop project will connect Wicks Lane to Alkali Creek Road in phase one, and then connect that road to Zimmerman Trail in the second phase.

City councilman Denis Pitman says the project started about two decades ago, and gained momentum after the Father's Day tornado 2011. Residents asked for more roads in and out of the Heights.

"There was a huge bottleneck where Wicks comes down to Main Street and again where Alkali Creek feeds into Airport Road, and that bottleneck for convenience as well as safety reasons had to be addressed," said Dan Darkenwald, a Billings Heights resident on Alkali Creek. "I think that it'll make for better emergency access."

"Well it's progress I guess," said Stan Buchholz, a Billings Heights resident. "I would hope that it would relieve some of the traffic in the Heights on Wicks Lane. I'm kind of looking forward to it."

Pitman says the new road will also address the city's growing population.

"We know that we have several thousand homes being plotted out here as well and this is one of those opportunities where we can actually build a road before all the houses are there," Pitman said.

Pitman says the total budget for both phases is nearly $11.3 million. Contractors plan to finish and open the road for phase one in the spring. They are still looking for a name for the road. If you have any suggestions, you can email Denis Pitman at