BILLINGS — The Billings City Council took steps Tuesday night to speed up removal of large rocks that are still blocking Laredo Place, nearly three weeks after they fell from the Rims.
The Council voted unanimously to pass an emergency resolution to bypass the usual bidding process required for finding a contractor to remove the boulders that have been blocking the road since the Sept. 21 rock slide.
The measure raises the amount the city administrator could sign for to help pay for the project, up to $200,000. Requests for bids have already been sent out to 10 companies that the state of Montana regularly uses.
The city expects to save several weeks of delays by not having to go through the bidding process. The hope is that the project can still be finished and the road reopened this fall.
Council members also approved the purchase of just over 300 acres of land for a new water treatment plant and reservoir on Billings West End. The new reservoir, located near Hesper Road between Shiloh Road and 48th street west, would be about six times the size of Lake Elmo.
The cost of the land purchase is $2.4 million, or about $8,000 an acre.
City officials say the new reservoir would provide Billings with four to five months of water storage—a great improvement over what the city currently has. Construction could start in late 2020.