Planning for Road Construction - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Planning for Road Construction

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BILLINGS -

We've experienced almost every season in Billings this past week, including road construction season.

Nearly $30-million in road construction projects this summer, apparently won't be as noticeable as in the previous years. The summer heat means more time in traffic due to road construction. No matter which route you take, it seems hard to miss. But, this year, city engineers said the most noticeable project will take place on Grand Avenue. "Probably the most visible project will be from 17th to 24th, and that's a water line project. We'll be doing the water line project this year, and then next year we're doing an overlay project and do some concrete work and that sort of thing with it," Billings City Engineer, Debi Meling said.

City engineer, Debi Meling, said commuters will not be affected by congestion as much this year, due to smaller projects, like sewer repair near the hospitals. "We're going to be doing several blocks in there. So, a little bit of congestion in there, and traffic, but mostly in the alley, so, it should be too bad in that area," Meling said.

Over-lay projects this summer include Montana Avenue, Governors, 13th Street West, Bitterroot, and Parkway. Bigger projects include Calhoun Lane from Underpass to King Avenue East, and the earlier-than expected Zimmerman Trail. In spite of the recent rockslide at Zimmerman, Meling said plans were already in the works to improve the trail and bring down some of the existing rock. She said the falling rock wasn't necessarily bad news. "Mother Nature did bring one down, so hopefully we'll see some cost savings there," Meling said.

At last word, contractors will be in place to improve the trail by next May. But, a projected re-open date is too soon to tell. According to Public Works engineers, plans were in the works to improve the trail in the fall, so the recent trail closure, due to fallen rock, will not affect the city's budget. According to engineers, the city is working with the Montana Department of Transportation to improve the trail.

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