BILLINGS — The findings are in from an engineering study that looked at how the city of Billings could develop the land around the proposed Inner Belt Loop that would connect Wicks Lane to the top of Zimmerman Trail.
Members of the Billings City Council Heard from D.J. Clark, a professional traffic operations engineer with Sanderson Stewart.
Clark said the study did not re-evaluate the route of the road, which has already been established. Instead, the study looked at everything else that comes with developing new land.
Clark said the study looked at "everything else that goes with a new roadway and the development that goes alongside that. Besides the point A to point B transportation."
The project could open up about 2,000 acres for development.
An aspect of the study was finding what it would take to hook up the area to city water and sewer.
The study found it can be done. But the area contains many "pressure zones," or changes in elevation. Bringing water between pressure zones requires more equipment and increases costs.
"There are multiple places you could hook up to water," Clark said, "in order to keep water pressure in practical range. Additional infrastructure would be needed to bring water between pressure zones."
City staff said at the meeting they already had preliminary agreements with private landowners to work with the city on development. Those agreements indicate that the private landowners will work with the city when the time comes for negotiation of right-of-way.
The city is in the process of applying for a federal highway grant that could reduce the city's contribution to the cost significantly.
Next, public meetings, and further studies will be held to gather more information about traffic numbers in the area.
To view the full presentation, click here.