Billings Bypass FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
Will the traffic noise be a disturbance?
As a requirement of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process, traffic noise was studied by the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) for this project (see EIS Section 3.3.8). Noise-sensitive receptors within approximately 500 feet of the roadway alignment were measured to establish ambient noise levels and were then modeled using nationally defined noise analysis methods to predict post-construction noise levels.
Because of the very nature of a new road, noise is expected to increase over current conditions. However, based on the analyses conducted, the increase over ambient conditions was determined to not be sufficient enough to necessitate feasible and reasonable mitigation (see EIS Section 18.104.22.168.3).
Why was this alignment chosen as opposed to other alternatives?
Several alternative alignments were considered over the course of the development of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Record of Decision which was completed in 2015. Alternatives were evaluated against a number of criteria, including, but not limited to, how well an alternative would meet the project purpose and need, construction and right-of-way costs, constructability, traffic, and impacts. The alignment that advanced from the EIS demonstrated the best performance relative to the projected impacts.
What is the timeline for the project? When will it be completed?
Construction will begin on the first segment of the project in the spring of 2019. The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) expects to begin a segment each year thereafter until the project is complete, depending on the availability of federal and state funding, as well as the timely acquisition of right-of-way.
Why is Five Mile Road the first segment to be constructed?
The Five Mile Road segment was advanced first due to the availability of funding, the small number of parcels that would be affected by the right-of-way process, and the relatively simple nature of its design. Furthermore, this segment would provide instant utility, allowing traffic access to the existing roadway network of the surrounding area.
What will be happening at Johnson Lane Interchange?
The Johnson Lane Interchange is currently undergoing a detailed traffic operations and geometric analysis. Several alternatives are being studied, and it is expected that a preferred alternative will be identified by early 2019.
What will be happening along Mary Street?
The new roadway will be located approximately 150-ft north (centerline to centerline) of Mary Street, with no direct access to Mary Street. Access to the new road from Mary Street will be provided at the intersection of Hawthorne Lane and Bitterroot Drive.
Mary Street is currently classified as a principle arterial by the City of Billings. With the development of this project, the City of Billings is expected to reclassify Mary Street as a “local” road. Mary Street can be expected to operate much in the same way it operates today; as a local road providing direct access to the homes adjacent to it.
As part of the reconstruction of the Main Street / US 87 / Bypass / Old Hwy 312 / Bench intersection, Mary Street will be reconnected to Bench Boulevard. Access to Main Street from Bench Boulevard will be removed.
Will there be drainage/flooding impacts?
The design of the roadway’s drainage considers how the roadway impacts pre-construction drainage conditions. The drainage design generally looks at minimizing impacts to pre-project drainage patterns while focusing on preventing flooding to adjacent properties and structures.
Will the Billings Bypass project impact the groundwater levels?
Geotechnical borings have been drilled at many locations along the proposed roadway corridor to determine the seasonal groundwater elevations. The roadway design takes in consideration these groundwater levels during design. Roadside ditches are designed to be constructed above groundwater levels to prevent the lowering of groundwater levels. Any existing groundwater drainage channels affected by the new roadway will be reconstructed to continue collecting and transmitting groundwater.
Will special aesthetic features be included in the development of the bridges along the project?
Special aesthetic features intended to add embellishments are not currently planned for the bridge structures for this project. As the project progresses aesthetic features will continue to be investigated.
Will roundabouts be installed as part of this project?
Roundabouts are planned for the intersection of the new arterial roadway with Five Mile Road and at the intersection of Five Mile Road with Old Highway 312. The remaining project intersections will be controlled through signalization or stop signs on the intersecting streets.
Will trucks be able to use the new arterial roadway?
The Bypass will accommodate all forms of transportation. The project’s purpose is to improve truck/commercial vehicle access and mobility in the eastern area of Billings and to improve connectivity between Interstate-90 and Old Hwy 312.
Will I be able to bike or walk along the Bypass?
Yes, you will be able to bike and walk along the Bypass. Nearly all Montana roads, excluding the urban freeways, are generally considered open to bicycle and pedestrian traffic either directly on the street, on road shoulders, or on sidewalks.