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2009 Year in review
Dust shoots into the sky as road construction workers blast rock at the Airport Road, Alkali Creek and Aronson Avenue Intersection in January.

After years of waiting, planning and negotiating, two major Billings roadways are torn up and reconstructed in 2009.

In the spring, Riverside Contracting begins a $24-million project to tear up and widen Airport Road from Main Street to just in front of the Billings Logan International Airport. The road is widened to four lanes, the much-maligned intersection in front of the airport is replaced with a roundabout and a new underpass is built for Alkali Creek Road.

The Airport Road project is mostly completed, with some minor work to continue in the spring.

The other major roadway project begun in 2009 is to rebuild Shiloh Road on the West End.

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The Montana Department of Transportation was bogged down in acquiring right-of-way access on more than 100 parcels along Shiloh Road, so the department splits the project into three pieces. The north and south pieces are constructed this year, and the middle piece will begin in 2010.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer helps break ground in June on the $48-million project, most of which is funded with federal stimulus money, the state’s first such project.

The project had been on the drawing board for more than a decade, and local leaders are hoping that its completion will spur millions of dollars in new commercial development along Shiloh.

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