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27th Street construction causes traffic jams in downtown Billings

Posted at 10:51 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 00:51:54-05

A construction project that started last fall is almost finished but has has caused traffic back up during peak times in downtown Billings.

Crews put down pavement on North 27th Street on Wednesday night.

Paving has been done at night and milling or removing the old pavement during the day.

The Montana Department of Transportation's $13.6 million project runs on 27th Street from Interstate 90 up to the roundabout near the airport.

A lane in each direction has been closed leading to traffic delays on 27th and side streets.

"Travelers really should expect that there will sections all along 27th where there's one lane," said Becky Bay, 27th Street Project public information officer. "Pretty substantial sections. What we're hearing, that if you're right on 27th and you're not taking any of the side streets, you're probably 10, 15 minute delays."

There are two projects.

One involves ADA compliant pedestrian cutouts at intersections.

The other is replacing worn pavement.

"Weather, the amount of traffic, the kind of traffic," Bey said about replacing pavement. "If you have a lot of heavy truck traffic, which on this street is pretty common because it's an arterial road. It's also an emergency road, so a lot of emergency traffic through that. So absolutely, the roads take a beating."

Bey said it will be two or three days to finish 27th between Poly Drive and the railroad tracks.

It may be another two weeks, depending on weather, to finish from the tracks to I-90.

"Everyone's trying to finish the projects before the snows fall," Bey said. "We want to have the pavement down. We want to be done with it this season and that means that everyone's pushing very hard to get work done so it's certainly more noticeable now than it probably has been for a couple months. And travelers really should expect that there will sections all along 27th where there's one lane, pretty substantial sections."

More information about the project is available on the MDT website.

The projects started in September of 2019.

"Very little work was able to be completed in 2019 due to supply issues," Bey said.