North 27th construction

A new, year-long traffic study performed by the city details how to improve traffic flow and pedestrian and cyclist safety downtown by showing what road activity would look like if certain streets were converted to two-way traffic.

The whole of 27th Street in downtown Billings was supposed to be moving at a trickle this month as the Montana Department of Transportation moved in to start a massive asphalt overlay project. 

The project, however, has been delayed until at least September, said Becky Bey, a public affairs representative for MDT. 

Speaking to the Billings City Council on Monday night, Bey explained that the roadway signs and poles needed for the project are only manufactured by one company and until they're delivered the project can't begin. 

In all, the project will include the entire length of 27th Street from Airport Road to I-90, repaving sections of the road and replacing street lights, traffic signals and curbs.

Specifically, the project will include a new asphalt overlay, upgrades to all intersection sidewalk corners to meet ADA requirements, replacement of all existing street lights with LED lights, and replacement of signals at 11 intersections, Bey said.

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In order to match the aesthetics of the downtown area the new signal poles and light poles will be powder-coated black. MDT planned about eight months for the work to be done and the poles to be delivered. However, it now appears it'll take closer to a year for the poles to be done, which pushed the project back to September, Bey said. 

Bey is an employee of KLJ who has been contracted out by MDT to act as spokeswoman for the project. HDR Engineering in Billings is handling the project. 

To get updates on the 27th Street project, residents can text "27thstreet" to 555888 or subscribe to email updates at 27thstreetbillings@kljeng.com. MDT also has a web page dedicated to the project. 

At Monday night's meeting, council members also heard reports on a handful of other MDT road projects planned for the Billings area over the next three years, including the expansion of I-90 to three lanes in each direction where it crosses the Yellowstone River and the replacement of the bridge there. 

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