You know the old joke about how Montana has two seasons, right? Winter and Road Construction season. Monday morning as I hopped on the interstate for my daily commute from Laurel to Billings, it instantly became clear that we had officially kicked off Road Construction Season in Montana.

Michael Foth, TSM
Michael Foth, TSM

What are they doing?

From Zoo Drive Exit 446 to Exit 437 (the Laurel T/A truckstop exit), I-90 is currently necked down to just one lane in both directions. In my experience this week, traffic still seems to be flowing fairly smoothly, with some slowdowns occasionally occurring during heavy traffic times and at on and off ramps. The speed limit is currently down to 55 MPH on the stretch between Laurel and Billings. Here's what the project entails, according to the Montana Department of Transportation.

This project will resurface I-90 from the Mossmain Interchange (East Laurel) to the West Billings Interchange (King Ave). This will include a mill and overlay, signing, striping, and guardrail. The 56th Street West bridges will be widened to full width.


Concrete median barrier rail along the weigh station will be replaced with taller concrete barrier rail. Three intersections at the West Billings Interchange will receive signal upgrades and ADA ramp upgrades. Traffic will be switched to two-way traffic via crossovers while the bridges are being widened.

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Michael Foth, TSM
Michael Foth, TSM

Expect orange cones everywhere around Billings this summer.

The $20.5 million highway construction project was awarded in 2022. While it's currently not impacting commute times very much between Laurel and Billings, I would anticipate longer delays as the project moves forward this summer. For many commuters, the Frontage Road will likely become a valid option for running back and forth to Billings from Laurel. Another option for many Laurel residents will be on the backroads to the West End. Eleven active road construction projects are currently listed on the MDOT website for the Billings area, so get ready for another exercise in driving patience this summer.

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