Inner Belt Loop Progresses
The City of Billings hopes to be able to issue a request for bids for the Inner Belt Loop a year from now.
The City of Billings Planning Department released an update last week on the progress of the Inner Belt Loop as it relates to the federal Build Grant, which the city won to help fund the project.
City staff is in the process of meeting all the requirements outlined in the grant in order to enter into an agreement with the Federal Highways (FHWA) department. The agreement cannot be submitted until the construction documents are ready, which means the completion the right-of-way purchase, environmental documents and final construction documents. Staff expects to be able to submit all that information by fall, with another six months required for the FHWA review, putting an executed agreement into April 2022.
Once the city receives the executed agreement from FHWA, the project will be put out for bid.
Billings was awarded $11.6 million in federal BUILD grant funds to construct the Inner Belt Loop and Skyline Trail in September 2020. The grant award was for only a portion of the requested sum of approximately $16.8 million to complete the Inner Belt Loop, and the pedestrian/bike trails, Skyline and Stagecoach. The City of Billings is supplementing the project with $7 million and $85,000 is being donated from Billings TrailNet.
City planning expected to receive six appraisals for right-of-way procurement at the end of April.
The city has also been in negotiation with an environmental professional who has completed the NEPA environmental process for other recent TIGER and BUILD grants, and believe that his services will cost less than $50,000 to do similar work for Billings.
They anticipate completing the environmental scoping and contracting also by the end of April, with the environmental (NEPA) work completed within about 6 months. The consultant will work to prepare the field review and reports, submittals by the consultant to various agencies, and review by agencies for approval.
A date will be announced for the official kick-off event of the project.