Road Construction: The Big Ones Around Billings
The image above from MDOT looks like Montana is infested with termites or something. Nope. Just road construction. It's that time of year and crews have been tearing up stuff all over the state. My friend Karen (who, btw... just discovered that "Karen" is a hilarious meme/insult) said her trip to the high-line last weekend took almost twice as long. From intestate highways to two-lane county roads and city streets, roads are being upgraded all around Montana. Good luck avoiding it.
The MDOT site shows 1,165 active projects as of 5/3/20. Not all of them are currently underway, but many of them are. If quarantine has kept you home you'll be in for a real treat when you venture out. Prepare for construction.
MDOT's road construction map is easy to use and zoom to wherever you might be traveling. If you are planning on going camping or recreating, give it a look before you go.
Some of the bigger projects impacting our vicinity include:
- Red Lodge to Roberts. This $18,000,000 project that runs from Red Lodge to about 10 miles north of Roberts includes work like "increasing shoulder width, adding passing lanes, flattening ditch slopes, providing drainage improvements, and providing new asphalt pavement." Fencing and signage is also part of the plan.
- 5 Miles Road to US Hwy 87. If you haven't ventured east of the Heights lately, you'll be in for a surprise as the long-talked about Billings Bypass finally gets started. MDOT says, "This project will initially construct a two-lane roadway, although in the future it will be widened to a four-lane section. The work involved will include the reconstruction of the Johnson Lane Interchange and the reconstruction/extension of the existing Five Mile Road to Old Highway 312 to provide a connection to the Bypass roadway." We'll need to be patient on this project, because it's huge and it's going to take years.
- Main Street in the Heights. They're pretty much repaving all of Main Street. That'll be fun. "Additonal work will include replacement of the raised median, upgrades to the traffic signals, new ADA compliant sidewalk corners, and LED heads installed on the existing street lights."
- Downtown Billings 27th St. They started this project last year at the intersection of I-90 and 27th St. and this year it's worked it's way north, just getting underway at Montana Ave and N. 27th St. It's part of a $13.5M upgrade that will eventually go all the way to the airport. There is also big construction on 1st Ave N. Expect wacky lane changes all over Downtown.
A friendly reminder to not be an entitled jerk in construction zones. Please obey the flaggers/sign holders and speed limits. It's a dangerous job and frankly, who needs an involuntary manslaughter charge on their hands? Slow down, phones down and we'll make it thru
summer road construction season in Montana together.