BILLINGS — New street lights and most of the pedestrian crossings on South 27th Street between Fourth Avenue South and Interstate 90 will be updated by the end of the year as part of the Montana Department of Transportation's 27th Street Improvement Project.
“We’re getting near the end of the season, which means we’re doing what the weather will allow us to do," said project public information officer Becky Bey on Wednesday.
Bey gave an update on the progress crews have been making since work started in September.
On Wednesday, crews could be seen erecting some the new, black, LED street lights in the area.
"What we’re going to try to knock out before the end of the season is the lumineers, the new lighting," Bey said. "As soon as they get up and installed, then they’ll take down the old ones and light up the new ones."
Another aspect of the project is updating pedestrian crossings along the length of 27th, adding ramps that are easier to navigate. Those ramps will have portions of the sidewalk with raised bumps known as tactile paving. The bumpy sidewalk is so visually impaired people can know when the sidewalk ends by feel.
Bey said most of the crossings between the South 27th interstate on-ramp and Fourth Avenue South will be complete by the end of this year.
"That will be about what we can get done this season,” Bey said.
In the spring of 2020, work will begin on North 27th Street, updating the street lights, pedestrian crossings and repaving the entire length from the Billings Logan International Airport to the interstate.
Bey said there is new technology built into the type of asphalt that will go down on 27th Street. Most notably, it does not need to be chip sealed.
"So when they finish at the end of next year, it’s done," Bey said. "
Also included in the project, the addition of a protected turn arrow for southbound drivers turning left from North 27th Street onto Montana Avenue. This addition will allow traffic to flow better when a train is crossing between North and South 27th Street.
The Montana Department of Transportation is spending $13.6 million to complete the 27th Street Improvement Project, contracted by Riverside Contracting.
Bey said construction on 27th will wrap up by the end of the year, then start up again in the spring and be complete by late fall or winter of 2020.
To learn more about the project, click here.