BILLINGS — The Rims boulders that littered the roadway of Laredo Place in Billings following a September rockfall were removed, and the road reopened to vehicles Tuesday, according to Billings City Administrator Chris Kukulski.
Kukulski updated the Billings City Council on the rock fall clean up process during a Monday night meeting.
“Things are cleaned up, however, quite a bit of damage has been done to the road. It’s mostly surface road damage and some concrete damage due to the size of the boulders that came down,” Kukulski said.
Crews finished laying dirt and gravel over the holes in the road. On Tuesday, cars were seen traveling the relatively short stretch of road that has been closed for about three months.
A large boulder still sits in the middle of a Billings home that was knocked 10 feet off its foundation from the fall.
The city can't pave the road until the weather warms up in the spring.
“We will do our best throughout the winter to keep the road drivable. When weather permits in the spring, we’ll get in there to do the asphalt and patch the street," Kukulski said.
In December, contracted crews with Apex Rock Fall Mitigation removed an unstable chunk of rock left attached to the Rims following the fall. That rock's removal made the area below safe for crews to break up the boulders on the street and haul them away.
Concerns were raised by neighbors about possible vibrations from the cleanup damaging the foundations of nearby homes. Kukulski said the vibrations were kept to an appropriate level.
City sewer and water pipes in the area were untouched by the rockfall. Kukulski said MDU workers had to move a gas line directly after the fall. He wasn't sure if the line was moved as a precaution, or if it was ruptured and needed repair.