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City of Billings explains new stop signs at Skyway Drive intersection

Skyway Drive
Posted at 5:49 PM, Jun 26, 2024

BILLINGS - After opening the new Skyway Drive in the Billings Heights earlier this month, the city of Billings addressed safety concerns from residents Wednesday regarding the new road.

Residents living on Alkali Creek Road, which intersects with Skyway Drive, have said that they believe their intersection should be a four-way stop. Currently, stop signs have been placed only for traffic on Alkali Creek Road.

Among those residents living in that area is Deanna, who asked MTN not to use her last name.

"I was really excited about (the new road) as well," Deanna said in an on-camera interview Wednesday. "I really like using the trails and having this long paved trail was really appealing to me."

But once the new road officially opened, Deanna's enthusiasm turned into fear.

"I don't understand why they only put stop signs on Alkali Creek but not on Skyway," Deanna said. "I think it creates an extremely dangerous situation."


Fortunately, the city of Billings had answers for Deanna's questions on Wednesday. City Engineer Mac Fogelsong said that the decision of where to put stop signs at intersections is based on federal safety rules and was decided following a study before construction began.

"Generally, intersections might progress from stop controlled, and then as traffic increases, you might get all the way up to a full-blown traffic signal," Fogelsong said.

Fogelsong said that it's typical when a new intersection is created to put stop signs on the road that will have less traffic. In this case, their study showed that Alkali Creek would see fewer cars than Skyway Drive.

Still, he understood the confusion, knowing that an intersection had been created somewhere that previously wasn't.

"That was a change to what it was before, and sometimes change is a little bit challenging," Fogelsong said.

That's why the city implemented safety measures to help drivers realize the changes. There is a stop sign on each corner of the intersection, meaning there are four instead of two, and all of those stop signs are larger than normal.

Stop Signs

Fogelsong said they also are planning on adding an overhead blinking light at the intersection, as well as cut down trees along the road to help with driver's vision.

"Those stop signs out there are a little bigger than normal," Fogelsong said. "We're also adding an additional overhead blinking red light at that intersection."

All changes Fogelsong said are part of an effort to keep drivers safe.

"We tried to do pretty much everything we could do," Fogelsong said.