BILLINGS — Progress on the Billings Bypass Project is moving along after over a decade of planning. Each day, the city is one step closer to connecting the Billings Heights to Lockwood.
It seems like construction on the Billings Bypass Project never ends and there’s a good reason for that.
“There have been various iterations, the Environmental Impact study, followed by design, followed by construction,” said DOWL’s public involvement manager, Lisa Olmsted on Monday.
Led by the Montana Department of Transportation, the project is broken into six segments. The first segment was the construction of Five Mile Road, which has been completed.
The Yellowstone River Bridge segment is the second part of the project that’s almost wrapped up.
“Yellowstone River Bridge is not open to the public. The next segment, the Railroad Overpass segment will allow for a connection,” Olmsted said.
That overpass is segment number three and will connect to the southeast side of the bridge. Olmsted said construction on that will likely start this year.
“Once that segment is complete, there will actually be a temporary connection to Coulson Road,” said Olmsted.
The public won’t have to wait for the entire Billings Bypass Project to be complete before they can use the bridge. They just have to wait for segment number three to be constructed.
“That’s a big one, it will include a bridge over the railroad and over Coulson Road,” said Olmsted.
Segment number four, the Johnson Lane Interchange, is currently in the design phase with construction anticipated to begin in the next year or so.
“That one is exciting for the community though because it will be Montana’s first diverging diamond interchange,” Olmsted said.
It’s hard to say exactly when the entire project will be complete, but Olmsted hopes it’s a year or two after construction begins on segment number six.
“The final segment, the road that will be constructed north of Mary Street, is anticipated to start in 2026,” Olmsted said.
That road will be similar to Rimrock Road with two lanes and a 45-mile speed limit.
There’s a concurrent project that shares the Billings Bypass name. The Billings Bypass Corridor Study is led by the city-county Metropolitan Planning Organization.
“We’ve been doing an assessment of utilities, floodplain, drainage,” said Olmsted.
It’s basically a collection of information that will be used to determine the future of the area. You can check out the draft here at Home - Billings Bypass Corridor Study.
“We’ll be having a public meeting for the Corridor Study this coming Thursday, September 8th, at Independence School in the Heights,” Olmsted said.
She invites the public to voice their opinions at this meeting before the document is finalized and delivered to the city for future planning efforts.
For more information on the Billings Bypass Project, visit Billings Bypass | Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) (mt.gov).