Inner Belt Loop Corridor Study
D.J. Clark, PE, PTOE
Inner Belt Loop
CREATING A PATH FROM EAST TO WEST IN BILLINGS, MONTANA
In 2010, a devastating tornado touched down at the MetraPark fairgrounds, ripping the roof off of the Rimrock Auto Arena and damaging other properties in the area. No one was hurt, but the ensuing chaos at the Main Street, 6th, 4th, and 1st Avenue intersections seriously delayed first responders and caused an immense traffic backup in the area. Main Street in the Billings Heights’ area is one of only two routes in and out of the northeast portion of town. The Father’s Day 2010 tornado demonstrated the immediate need for a solution to this dangerous connection issue.
Sanderson Stewart was initially tasked with assisting the City of Billings in identifying a viable possible corridor route from the Heights to the West End via Zimmerman Trail. In 2019, our firm was retained once again, to help the City create a framework for the possible development of the corridor through the Inner Belt Loop Corridor Study.
The Sanderson Stewart team integrated our knowledge of the corridor and expertise in placemaking and community transportation with public outreach to create this framework. The Community Transportation and Placemaking Studios evaluated opportunities to implement that vision by identifying land use options, access management and connectivity, segment identification and pedestrian and bicycle accessibility. A substantial traffic analysis was completed by Sanderson Stewart in support of the roadway design efforts for the basis of this study to gauge traffic growth in the Inner Belt Loop corridors. We worked with the City to develop corridor and intersection projections using the newly completed travel demand model and the 2018 Long Range Transportation Plan. Our team technical advisor on the corridor study project provided valuable insight on design and construction details that were critical to planning the integration of public amenities, private property access locations, aesthetic features, and potential future roadway connections to the corridor. We coordinated with City of Billings Public Works to ensure that the alternatives development process was consistent with long-term plans for roadway and utility infrastructure. We are utilizing our extensive knowledge base about the design and topography of the corridor to prepare planning level estimates of probable construction cost for all recommended alternatives.
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