Montana Department of Transportation

COVID-19

View the Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force site for more information.

Public Involvement

Billings Bypass FAQs

Billings Bypass logo

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the timeline for the project? When will it be completed?

Billings Bypass schedule flowchart
Click on the image to view a larger schedule.

How much will the project cost?

Estimated Project Cost:
Five Mile Road ~ $5.8M
Yellowstone River ~ $47.4M
Johnson Lane Interchange ~ $24.9M
Railroad Overpass ~ $13.5M
Johnson Lane Interchange – Railroad Overpass ~ $8.1M
Five Mile Road to US 87 ~ $15.3M
TOTAL ~ $115M + I.C.

Interesting note: This is the largest single project ever undertaken by the Montana Department of Transportation.

Is the project funded?

Yes. MDT has identified funds for the entire project. The project is broken into six phases to accommodate design and construction scheduling as well as funding needs.

Is this project a “bypass”?

While the project name includes the term “bypass”, the road will not be a true bypass. Instead, it is an urban arterial road. Examples of urban arterial roads in Billings include Rimrock Road and Shiloh Road. The term “bypass” remains on the project name because of federal funding that was allocated to the project.

Why was this alignment chosen as opposed to other alternatives?

Several alternative alignments, or routes, were considered over the course of the development of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Record of Decision. Alternatives were evaluated against several criteria, including how well an alternative would meet the project purpose and need, community need, construction and right-of-way costs, constructability, and traffic flow. After careful analysis, the alignment selected best fulfills project and stakeholder goals.

Will roundabouts be installed as part of this project?

Roundabouts are planned for the intersection of Five Mile Road with Old Highway 312 and the intersection of the new arterial road with Five Mile Road. The remaining project intersections will be controlled through signals or stop signs on the intersecting streets.

What will happen at Johnson Lane Interchange?

The Johnson Lane Interchange will be a Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI), the first one to be built in Montana. This style of interchange was selected after a detailed traffic operations and geometric analysis and several alternatives were studied. This design offers many safety benefits and will accommodate all types of users including trucks, cars, RVs, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Johnson Lane Interchange

A video simulating traffic flow through Johnson Lane interchange is available here.

What will be happening along Mary Street?

The new roadway will be located approximately 130-ft north (centerline to centerline) of Mary Street, with access to Mary Street at Bitterroot Drive and Hawthorne Lane.

Mary Street is currently classified as a principal 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 adjacent homes.

As part of the reconstruction of the intersection of Main Street, US 87, Old Highway 312, and the new urban arterial road, Mary Street will be reconnected to Bench Boulevard. To improve the safety, access to Main Street from Bench Boulevard will be via Pemberton Lane.

Mary Street

Will there be drainage/flooding impacts?

The design of the roadway’s drainage considers how the roadway will impact pre-construction drainage conditions. The drainage design minimizes impacts to drainage patterns while focusing on preventing flooding to adjacent properties and structures.

Will there be impact to groundwater levels?

Geotechnical borings have been drilled at many locations along the proposed roadway corridor to determine the seasonal groundwater elevations. To prevent change to groundwater levels, roadside ditches are designed to be constructed above groundwater levels. Any existing groundwater drainage channels affected by the new roadway will be reconstructed to continue collecting and transmitting groundwater.

Will I be able to bike or walk along the Billings Bypass?

Yes, you will be able to bike and walk along the new road. 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. As illustrated in the rendering below, a 10-foot multi-use path is included in the design of the Yellowstone River Bridge.

Rendering of the Yellowstone River Bridge and multi-use path
Rendering of the Yellowstone River bridge and multi-use path. Rendering by NC3D.

Will the traffic noise be a disturbance?

Traffic noise was studied for this project (see EIS Section 3.3.8). Noise receptors measured the current noise levels within approximately 500 feet of the roadway alignment. Expected future noise levels were then modeled, using nationally defined noise analysis methods. Based on the analyses conducted, the change in ambient noise isn’t enough to require noise mitigation measures (see EIS Section 4.3.8.2.3). Information about specific areas along the alignment is available in the EIS document.

Will trucks be able to use the new arterial roadway?

The new road will accommodate all forms of transportation. One of the project’s goals is to improve access and mobility in the eastern area of Billings and to improve connectivity between Interstate 90 and Old Hwy 312/US 87.