It’s finally beginning to feel like summer in Billings.
Thanks to some major and minor road construction projects under way across the city, it’s starting to look and sound like summer, too.
One of the bigger projects is the reconstruction of Rimrock Road from 17th Street West to Forsythia Boulevard, a distance of a little more than a mile and a half.
City Engineer Debi Meling said the project will cost about $4 million and is “obviously huge.”
The project, which began late last month and is expected to wrap up in September, involves widening that stretch of Rimrock to three lanes, with a turning lane in the middle.
It also involves the installation of streetlights, striped bike lanes and curbs, gutters and sidewalks on both sides of the road. The water main also will be replaced.
The project is being paid for partly by special improvement district assessments on affected property owners, plus some city funds.
When the reconstruction is complete, that stretch will look just like Rimrock east of 17th, which has been rebuilt in stages going back many years. The final phase of the project, reconstructing Rimrock from Forsythia west to Shiloh, is scheduled for 2013.
Downtown, a big project is scheduled to begin early in July on Fourth Avenue North between North 22nd and 28th streets. Crews will be replacing water lines that run down the center of Fourth, reducing traffic to two lanes for as long as three months. Fourth is a major thoroughfare, a one-way that runs east through downtown.
“It’ll be quite the traffic disruption this year,” Meling said.
Also downtown, the city is in the process of replacing traffic lights at nine intersections, basically at all intersections that are not on state routes such as 27th Street. The replacement is being paid for with a combination of funding from the city and the Downtown Billings Association.
On 29th Street between Second and Third avenues north, money from the city’s parking enterprise fund is being used to repair a sky bridge over 29th. The sky bridge is being sandblasted and repainted and a new roof is being installed. The bridge will be lifted on one end so new bearing pads can be put in place.
A long overdue reconstruction of Moore Lane between Central Avenue and the newly rebuilt intersection at Monad Road is scheduled to begin in mid-July and will last about three months. The $1 million project will widen Moore Lane to three lanes and add curbs, gutters and sidewalks, paid for by another combination of city funds and SID assessments.
Meanwhile, two other large projects are already done: the repaving of First Avenue North from 18th to 28th streets and 24th Street West from Grand Avenue to Central Avenue. Most of the work on those two projects was done at night, Meling said, which reduced the inconvenience to motorists.
The same stretch of 24th Street West has been torn up over the past two summers for a water-line replacement project, making this the third straight year of work there.
“We’re going to leave that area alone for a while,” Meling said.