Once upon a time, the Billings Railway was an essential part of his survival. People traveled the rails and businesses depended on them for supplies. The railroad is still a vital part of Billings’ economy, but times of whistle stops and local needs have changed. Which brings me to my point, why do we still have a trail running through downtown Billings on 27th Street? Besides, why do we have to stop and wait for the trains to pass? There should be a solution to this.
The Billings 27th Street crossing is causing multiple problems. I know the solution would be expensive. I know it would take a lot of thought and planning to effect a change. This is how these things happen, we get a change by asking ourselves why. Why was a tunnel or a viaduct not built? Why has it stayed the same after all the change around it?
Studies have been done. In December 2020 KTVQ reported the publication of a study on the solution to this problem. The concerns are pedestrian safety, downtown traffic congestion, and ease of travel to and from Interstate 90. A tunnel and overpass have been suggested as solutions. Cost? The tunnel cost $ 85 million and the viaduct $ 40 million.
I prefer the idea of a tunnel. It is more expensive, but not only would it solve the problems listed above, but the noise from rail traffic would also be reduced. I am also sure it would help downtown businesses north and south of the lanes to develop and grow. It would also make residential properties in downtown Billings more attractive. Hopefully the studies will come to fruition soon. Billings are getting busier. Soon a problem becomes a crisis.
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