Debi   Meling   is   City   Engineer   of   Public   Works   Department.   Debi   is   an amazing    person    with    an    amazing    work    ethic.    She    is    professional, knowledgeable,   and   more   importantly   personable.   She   and   her   team   are proud that they can make our city better. JBN:   What   is   the   reason   of   putting   Billings   under   construction   this year? And where you can see construction that summer? Debi   Meling:   Probably   the   biggest   project   that   people   will   see   is   on Central   Avenue   from   32nd   to   Zimmerman.   It   will   go   from   a   two   lane section   to   five   lanes   with   trail   and   sidewalk.   The   project   is   planned   due   to traffic   use.   Most   people,   I   think   will   think   that's   a   good   project.   So,   Central Avenue   will   be   closed   during   the   summer   for   the   most   part.   Local   traffic can   get   in   there   but   it   is   mostly   closed   to   through   traffic.   King   Avenue West   from   44th   to   48th   is   a   water   and   a   sewer   line.   Most   of   the   time,   that will   actually   be   opened,   but   it's   utility   extensions   on   both   sides   of   the   road so,   sometimes   when   they   make   connections   they'll   have   to   close   the road, but not generally. 24th   Street   West   from   King   to   Central   and   Central Avenue   from   24th   to   the   ditch   is   getting   an   overlay.   We   do   pavement   maintenance (mill   and   overlay)   which   means   we   get   in   front   of   it   before   it   needs   a   full   reconstruction.   That   project   looks   big   and   it's   obviously   going to   have   a   large   traffic   impact.   There   are   20,000   vehicles   per   day   on   that   street.   But,   it   only   take   us   a   few   weeks   to   get   a   mill   and overlay done so, it's not an all summer sort of project. Midland   Road   is   a   full   rebuild   from   two   lanes   to   three   lanes   with   trail   and   sidewalk   and   extends   from   Mullowney   to   South   Billings Boulevard. Our sewer replacement projects are all in alleys. They'll have some intermittent closures on 17th Street west. The   Poet   Street   project   is   a   full   reconstruction   of   those   streets.      North   27th   Street   is   going   to   be   overlayed   by   the   state   next   year   so   we want   to   get   our   water   line   all   replaced   before   that   happens.   So,   from   6th   all   the   way   up   to   Rimrock,   we   need   to   replace   the   water   line. That   will   probably   be   a   fall   project   into   spring   the   next   year   because   Zimmerman   trail   will   be   closed   for   reconstruction   during   July, August, and September. When Zimmerman is closed we don't want to have 27th closed at the same time. JBN: Of course, yeah. Debi   Meling:   So   the   waterline   will   probably   go   to   a   fall,   spring   2019   project.   There   is   a   lead   service   replacement   project   between Central and Broadwater.  Most of the work will be off the road so it won’t be very disruptive. From   10th   to   13th   and   from   1st   Ave   N   to   4th   Ave   N,   we're   going   to   reconstruct   in   the   east   buildings   urban   renewal   district.   Similar   to what we did from 10th to 7th a few years ago, there'll be a reconstruction of that area and it's basically revitalization of that area. Hilltop   and Aronson   is   a   storm   drain   project.   Hilltop   will   be   closed   for   a   few   months   this   summer. You   will   be   able   to   use Aronson   during that time but Hilltop from Aronson to the east will be closed. We   have   a   couple   of   trail   projects   in   east   side   of   the   Heights,   one   on   Kyhl   Lane   and   one   on   Bitterroot,   both   to   serve   as   walking   areas for kids going to different schools. Briarwood   and   Cedar   Park   are   both   getting   chip   seals   which   means   you   put   oil   on   the   street   and   then   gravel   and   then   basically   creates that new surface. –Chip seals are fast, the contractor is usually in and out of there in a day or two. — There are intersection projects at 54th and Rimrock and at Daniel and Monad. Both of those intersections will be signalized. JBN: Can you tell the the cost of some of the projects? Debi   Meling:   We   have   a   big   project   at   the   wastewater   plant,   and   the   rest   of   them   are   probably   $50   million.   So   I   think   we   are   at   about $110 million this year. MDT   also   has   several   projects   this   summer   that   commuters   will   see.   Division   and   6th   is   getting   a   mill   and   overlay   and   they're   also doing a mill and overlay of a section of the interstate. JBN: What amount of time you need for all these projects? Debi   Meling:   We   try   to   get   everything   done   by   the   end   of   October,   because   we   pretty   much   assume   that   in   November   we're   going   to get some weather. Some of these are long projects, some are going to be pretty short. JBN: Did you do some analitics about how busy streets in Billings? Debi   Meling:   Sure.   We   have   a   map   on   our   website   that   shows   the   traffic   counts   for   every   street   that   we   count.   If   you   go   to   the engineering website you can look at that map, you can really see where most people are traveling. JBN:   Please   tell   us   about   the   traffic   signals   in   Billings...   Because   I   notice   that   they   work   different   here   compare   to   my country. For example we have flashing green what tells you that soon it will change to yellow and than to red... Debi   Meling:   Traffic   signals   are   all   constructed   and   operated   according   to   the   federal   guidelines   and   as   new   as   new   standards,   new techniques   come   out,   we   incorporate   them   here   in   Billings.   So   when   the   flashing   yellow   light   was   added,   we   incorporate   them   as   they come   out.   I   haven’t   seen   the   flashing   green   light   as   you   have   in   Ukraine,   but   it   can   happen   in   the   future.      We   are   starting   to   incorporate new   things   differently   as   far   as   traffic   control.   In   some   areas,   we   have   old   traffic   controllers   so   we   can't   adjust   them   to   be   perfectly timed   because   they   can’t   “talk”   to   each   other.   But,   over   the   next   five   years   we   will   replace   all   our   controllers   so   all   of   them   will   be   able talk to each other. Website: https://ci.billings.mt.us/217/Engineering-Division
Johnson’s Billings News
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  Debi Meling about city construction in Billings
Interview
Debi    Meling    is    City Engineer      of      Public Works       Department. Debi    is    an    amazing person        with        an amazing    work    ethic. She    is    professional, knowledgeable,      and more           importantly personable.    She    and her    team    are    proud that    they    can    make our city better. JBN:     What     is     the     reason     of     putting     Billings     under construction   this   year?   And   where   you   can   see   construction that summer? Debi   Meling:   Probably   the   biggest   project   that   people   will   see   is on   Central Avenue   from   32nd   to   Zimmerman.   It   will   go   from   a   two lane   section   to   five   lanes   with   trail   and   sidewalk.   The   project   is planned   due   to   traffic   use.   Most   people,   I   think   will   think   that's   a good    project.    So,    Central    Avenue    will    be    closed    during    the summer   for   the   most   part.   Local   traffic   can   get   in   there   but   it   is mostly   closed   to   through   traffic.   King   Avenue   West   from   44th   to 48th   is   a   water   and   a   sewer   line.   Most   of   the   time,   that   will   actually be   opened,   but   it's   utility   extensions   on   both   sides   of   the   road   so, sometimes   when   they   make   connections   they'll   have   to   close   the road, but not generally. 24th   Street   West   from   King   to   Central   and   Central   Avenue   from 24th    to    the    ditch    is    getting    an    overlay.    We    do    pavement maintenance   (mill   and   overlay)   which   means   we   get   in   front   of   it before   it   needs   a   full   reconstruction.   That   project   looks   big   and   it's obviously   going   to   have   a   large   traffic   impact.   There   are   20,000 vehicles   per   day   on   that   street.   But,   it   only   take   us   a   few   weeks   to get   a   mill   and   overlay   done   so,   it's   not   an   all   summer   sort   of project. Midland   Road   is   a   full   rebuild   from   two   lanes   to   three   lanes   with trail   and   sidewalk   and   extends   from   Mullowney   to   South   Billings Boulevard. Our   sewer   replacement   projects   are   all   in   alleys.   They'll   have some intermittent closures on 17th Street west. The   Poet   Street   project   is   a   full   reconstruction   of   those   streets.     North   27th   Street   is   going   to   be   overlayed   by   the   state   next   year so   we   want   to   get   our   water   line   all   replaced   before   that   happens. So,   from   6th   all   the   way   up   to   Rimrock,   we   need   to   replace   the water   line.   That   will   probably   be   a   fall   project   into   spring   the   next year   because   Zimmerman   trail   will   be   closed   for   reconstruction during   July,   August,   and   September.   When   Zimmerman   is   closed we don't want to have 27th closed at the same time. JBN: Of course, yeah. Debi   Meling:   So   the   waterline   will   probably   go   to   a   fall,   spring 2019   project. There   is   a   lead   service   replacement   project   between Central   and   Broadwater.      Most   of   the   work   will   be   off   the   road   so   it won’t be very disruptive. From   10th   to   13th   and   from   1st Ave   N   to   4th Ave   N,   we're   going   to reconstruct   in   the   east   buildings   urban   renewal   district.   Similar   to what    we    did    from    10th    to    7th    a    few    years    ago,    there'll    be    a reconstruction   of   that   area   and   it's   basically   revitalization   of   that area. Hilltop   and   Aronson   is   a   storm   drain   project.   Hilltop   will   be   closed for   a   few   months   this   summer.   You   will   be   able   to   use   Aronson during that time but Hilltop from Aronson to the east will be closed. We   have   a   couple   of   trail   projects   in   east   side   of   the   Heights,   one on   Kyhl   Lane   and   one   on   Bitterroot,   both   to   serve   as   walking areas for kids going to different schools. Briarwood    and    Cedar    Park    are    both    getting    chip    seals    which means   you   put   oil   on   the   street   and   then   gravel   and   then   basically creates   that   new   surface.   –Chip   seals   are   fast,   the   contractor   is usually in and out of there in a day or two. — There   are   intersection   projects   at   54th   and   Rimrock   and   at   Daniel and Monad. Both of those intersections will be signalized. JBN: Can you tell the the cost of some of the projects? Debi   Meling:   We   have   a   big   project   at   the   wastewater   plant,   and the   rest   of   them   are   probably   $50   million.   So   I   think   we   are   at about $110 million this year. MDT   also   has   several   projects   this   summer   that   commuters   will see.   Division   and   6th   is   getting   a   mill   and   overlay   and   they're   also doing a mill and overlay of a section of the interstate. JBN: What amount of time you need for all these projects? Debi    Meling:    We    try    to    get    everything    done    by    the    end    of October,   because   we   pretty   much   assume   that   in   November   we're going   to   get   some   weather.   Some   of   these   are   long   projects, some are going to be pretty short. JBN:   Did   you   do   some   analitics   about   how   busy   streets   in Billings? Debi   Meling:   Sure.   We   have   a   map   on   our   website   that   shows the   traffic   counts   for   every   street   that   we   count.   If   you   go   to   the engineering   website   you   can   look   at   that   map,   you   can   really   see where most people are traveling. JBN:    Please    tell    us    about    the    traffic    signals    in    Billings... Because   I   notice   that   they   work   different   here   compare   to   my country.   For   example   we   have   flashing   green   what   tells   you that soon it will change to yellow and than to red... Debi    Meling:    Traffic    signals    are    all    constructed    and    operated according   to   the   federal   guidelines   and   as   new   as   new   standards, new   techniques   come   out,   we   incorporate   them   here   in   Billings. So   when   the   flashing   yellow   light   was   added,   we   incorporate   them as   they   come   out.   I   haven’t   seen   the   flashing   green   light   as   you have   in   Ukraine,   but   it   can   happen   in   the   future.      We   are   starting to   incorporate   new   things   differently   as   far   as   traffic   control.   In some   areas,   we   have   old   traffic   controllers   so   we   can't   adjust them   to   be   perfectly   timed   because   they   can’t   “talk”   to   each   other. But,   over   the   next   five   years   we   will   replace   all   our   controllers   so all of them will be able talk to each other. Website: https://ci.billings.mt.us/217/Engineering-Division
Johnson’s Billings News
Interview
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They are read.  We are Quoted!!!
  Debi Meling about city construction in Billings