If you’ve driven Interstate 90 recently between Billings and Lockwood, then you know the orange cones are out.
On Tuesday, the Montana Department of Transportation gave an update on the Yellowstone River Project during an open house at the Billings Public Library.
MDT engineering project manager Shane Johnson says the construction is running a little ahead of schedule.
“Everything is on schedule for sure, and it’s actually a little ahead,” he says.
The orange cones won’t be going away anytime soon. This project will impact drivers over the next two years.
“The way it is configured now with the two-way traffic in the eastbound lane is the way it is going to be all of this year all the way to November. And during that time, the reconstruct of the interstate and the bridge will take place in the westbound lane and then next year the exact opposite happens,” Johnson says.
It will add an extra lane in each direction of the interstate through the 2.6-mile stretch, which is the business corridor in the state, with more than 30,000 vehicles passing through here each day. A 10-foot shoulder will also be added on each side.
“It needed to be widened out to help with the infrastructure around Billings and the growth that we are experiencing. So, the bridges are narrow, and they needed to be replaced as well as the interstate being widened to three lanes,” Johnson said.
The westbound bridge was the scene of a huge pileup last year that involved approximately 30 vehicles.
Improvements will also be made to the two interchanges on this stretch of interstate. It will eventually mean a lot less congestion when driving through the area—but for now, you will need a lot more patience.
“Drive through at the posted speeds don’t go fast. Stay off your cell phones and safe out there,” Johnson reminds motorists.
You can find much more information on the project as well as signing up to receive SMS messages with updates on delays by clicking here.