Transportation officials plan open house on Billings Bypass

2014-04-07T00:00:00Z 2014-04-22T14:24:18Z Transportation officials plan open house on Billings BypassGazette Staff The Billings Gazette

The Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Billings Bypass has been published and is available for review.

The Montana Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration will host an informal open house to update the public about the statement and the next steps in the process on from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Bitterroot Elementary School Gymnasium, 1801 Bench Blvd. There will not be a formal presentation at the open house.

The statement will be available for review at:

MDT Billings district office, 424 Morey St.

Montana State University Billings Library, 1500 University Drive

City-County Planning Department, 2825 Third Ave. N.

Yellowstone County Commissioners Office (County Courthouse), 217 N. 27th St., Room 403

Lockwood Water and Sewer District, 1644 Old Hardin Road, Lockwood

MDT Environmental Services Bureau, MDT Headquarters, 2960 Prospect Ave., Helena

Online at: www.mdt.mt.gov/pubinvolve/eis-ea.shtml

Call MDT Environmental Services at (406) 444-7228 or (406) 444-9437

The Federal Highway Administration will issue a record of decision no sooner than 30 days after publication of the Final EIS. Written comments may be submitted to Tom Martin, bureau chief, Environmental Services, MDT, PO Box 201001, Helena, MT 59602-1001.

Comments may also be submitted online at www.mdt.mt.gov/mdt/env-commentform.shtml.

The Billings Bypass statement examines alternatives to construct a new principal arterial connecting Interstate 90 east of Billings with Old Highway 312. The purpose of the proposed project is to improve access and connectivity between I-90 and Old Hwy. 312 and to improve mobility in the eastern area of Billings.

Based on analysis, meetings and public comments, three build alternatives have been developed to accomplish these four objectives:

Reduce physical barrier impacts to the transportation system

Improve connectivity between Lockwood and Billings

Improve mobility to and from Billings Heights

Improve truck/commercial vehicle access to and through Billings.

The statement analyzes and compares social, economic and environmental impacts associated with the alternatives, responds to public comments received on the Draft EIS published in August 2012 and provides additional information related to phased implementation of the Preferred Alternative.

The FEIS identifies the Preferred Alternative as Mary Street Option 2, which would construct a 5.15-mile-long principal arterial connection across the Yellowstone River between I-90 and Old Hwy. 312.

Secondary corridor improvements would be made to Five Mile Road, which would be extended north to connect with Old Hwy. 312.

Due to financial constraints, the preferred alternative would be implemented in two phases.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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