Posted: Sep 25, 2012 7:43 PM by Victoria Fregoso - MTN News
Updated: Sep 25, 2012 9:45 PM
BILLINGS - The city plans to revamp Mary Street in the Heights into the Billings Bypass to accomodate increased future traffic, but homeowners like Brent Cathey say they're not happy about the plan to remove several houses in the project.
"The center line of the bypass would be right where that stake is there," Cathey said while he reporters on a tour of his property. "And they're planning on putting a 160 foot road right of way through here, so the edge of the road right of way would be right here, right on the edge of our lawn."
The bypass would offer another route from the heights to Interstate 90, giving travelers the option to avoid Main Street and save time. With the public comment period coming to an end on October first, Brent fears it might be too late to change any plans the Montana Department of Transportation has in mind. These plans would result in Brent and 12 of his neighbors losing their homes.
"We've just done a ton of work all ourselves pretty much and this is where we're going to retire and it's just devastating."
Traffic would increase from the 500 cars that use Mary Street now to an estimated 16,000 vehicles a day. The Department of Transportation did refuse to comment until after the final Environmental Impact statement is complete.
The Catheys learned about these plans just last year. Brent says he was not notified when constructing the bypass on his property became an option.
"We could of voiced our opposition at that time and maybe could have had some impact on the routing."
For now, the Cathey family has created a petition against the bypass.
"We're going to do everything we can to stop it."
The Catheys said they proposed an alternative route that wouldn't result in the loss of any homes, but that proposal was shot down.
The final Environmental Impact Statement should be complete by this winter.