The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) held two public meetings on April 29 to gather input from citizens on how to better move traffic across the railroad at North 27th Street in downtown Billings.
MDT said that the project was determined to have a high priority following the 2016 Montana Rail Grade Separation Study.
Challenged with the task of determining the feasibility of possible solutions, engineers presented three options at the meetings: an underpass, an overpass or a tunnel.
The need to address the railroad crossing has been the subject of a number of previous studies and local civic groups have frequently pressed to find a solution to traffic congestion, that clogs downtown streets when a train is passing through.
Tim Erickson, HDR Engineering, said that each solution has its merits and its drawbacks.
To move the tracks from downtown Billings is an option that is most unfeasible and is not being considered.
Least obtrusive would be an underpass or a tunnel but they would also be the most expensive. Building either would also be the most disruptive.
An overpass would be less expensive and easier to build, but would have a more a greater impact on the appearance of downtown Billings.
Among those commenting the underpass or tunnel seemed most preferred.