BUILD Grant Update October 2021

BUILD Grant Update –October 8, 2021

The City of Billings was awarded a BUILD grant in September of 2020.

•    It was a busy month finalizing the required budget narrative. The narrative includes the description of any funds expended by the City since September 2020 (the notification date of the grant receipt). We analyzed contracts and expenditures on various elements of the development of the project including Right-of way (appraisals development and review), Environmental documentation, and final Skyline Trail and Inner Belt Loop engineering. More on those activities below in the Engineering update. In addition to this budget narrative, the city and Billings TrailNet were required to submit letters of fund commitment for documentation and a variety of other federal requirement forms. This information was forwarded and received by Federal Highways and now we are awaiting their response. Once we receive approval of the budget narrative, the next step will be to begin the development of the Project Agreement. The development of this agreement can take several months.

•    The following are engineering updates:

1.  The draft environmental document and resource reports (NEPA) were submitted to FHWA on 6/22/21. FHWA provided comments and the consultant addressed the comments and the final report is being prepared. The final report will be submitted to FHWA by October 8. FHWA indicated final review will take about 2-3 weeks.

2.   Staff met with an additional landowner and discussed the project progress to-date.

3.   The geotechnical design work is proceeding relative to the retaining walls on the Skyline Trail. Staff is working to accelerate the completion of this work.

4.   The IBL roadway design consultant is adding additional detail to comply with MS-4 requirements outlined in the environmental document.

5.    Appraisals are complete, both the base appraisals and third-party review appraisals.

6.    Staff is preparing to start right-of-way negotiation once FHWA approves the NEPA document.

•    Planning continues to monitor and respond to requests from Federal Highways.

•    City staff and staff from FHWA and MDT continue to meet regularly or stay in contact as the grant process moves forward.

Next steps: Wait for Federal Highways to complete review of the Budget Narrative and respond to any additional requests for information. Continue right-of-way procurement and environmental work. Staff will continue with regular meetings and correspondence with our FHWA representative. BUILD website will be continually updated with information as it is available.