BILLINGS - It has been three months since flood waters washed away a large chunk of Gabel Road on Billings West End, and construction has still not started.
The road was damaged during June's flooding. and the city estimates it will cost about $650,000 to repair.
The sinkhole is located near the entrance into the Shipton's Big R parking lot, and store manager Garth Webster said he is a little surprised at how long it has taken for construction to begin.
"I mean, I expected it to get done pretty quickly," Webster said. "I feel like Gabel is a pretty busy road. A lot of traffic comes through here so I definitely thought it would be something already taken care of by now."
Webster said the sinkhole has had a minimal effect on their business. The road was reopened just a few weeks after the floods, but Webster said the loss of a driving lane on Gabel Road has been a nuisance.
"I would say I'm a little annoyed just not seeing any progress at all," Webster said. "I guess I don't know what else they have going on."
City engineer Mac Fogelsong said projects of this magnitude can take up to six months, and the project is still on schedule to be completed this year.
"Obviously, it's not the ideal situation, but we've got it kind of shored up," Fogelsong said. "Hopefully, we're going to try to hit the end of the year paving window."
Fogelsong said much of the project has been expedited, but engineers are currently waiting on the new stormwater pipe, which will be installed under the asphalt, to begin construction. That pipe is currently being manufactured and will be a square shape instead of the round one that was under the road when it collapsed.
"We have a contractor ready to go, so we're just waiting on the pipe," Fogelsong said. "We've got to make sure that all the other utilities fit the new shape."
Fogelsong said it's typical for projects like these to take some extra time, but that he understands the importance of getting the road fixed by the end of November.
"It's just how construction projects go," Fogelsong said. "I think we're in good shape to get it done in time and I think it's just better that we have it opened up and ready through the winter."
And Webster said he's looking forward to the road returning to normal.
"I'd like them to see it get done just so then that way we can go back to completely normal operations," Webster said.