The project is located on Airport Road and Montana 3 (National Highway Route 53). The majority of Airport Road was originally constructed in 1972. The intersection with Main Street (US 87) was originally constructed in 1956. Montana 3 was originally constructed in 1963 and improvements were made in 1996 from reference post 2.7 to 3.1.
This project has been identified in the Billings Urban Area 2000 Transportation Plan and listed as the number one priority in the Billings Urban Area 2001 - 2005 Transportation Improvement Program. The Billings Urban Area 2000 Transportation Plan is to:
Improve regional mobility
Improve community mobility
According to the Billings Urban Area 2000 Transportation Plan, Airport Road is currently over capacity and experiencing congestion. In the plan, capacity was determined to be level of service D, in which vehicle delay ranges from 25 to 40 seconds. Airport Road is designated as a truck route connecting Interstate 90 to Montana 3.
Problems with Existing Configuration
The intersection of North 27th Street / Montana 3 and the Airport Road has several problems with the existing configuration including:
Steep grade on North 27th Street
Driver confusion relating to the three-way stop
Restricted sight distance
High approach speeds on Montana 3 and Airport Road
Movement from the Heights to the downtown area and West End is limited to three primary routes. The community mobility is limited by the capacity of the existing routes.