Quick Tour of Tower of London, Home to Crown Jewels, Beefeaters & Ravens (30-Second Video) | International | Video

The Tower of London is a World Heritage Site, drawing more than 3 million visitors a year from all over the world. I was fortunate to be able to visit the Tower in 2017, and it made a powerful impression on me.

Photos: Tower Bridge, and view of Tower of London from Tower Bridge.

Adjacent to the famed Tower Bridge, the Tower of London is a breathtaking site. But its history is even more fascinating. According to Historic Royal Palaces, William the Conqueror built the impressive stone tower at the heart of the castle in the 1070s. Today, the sprawling Tower property and history still intrigue and horrify.

Photo: Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

The Tower has served as a symbol of fear, with many royals imprisoning (and even torturing or executing) their rivals and enemies within it. Prisoners and victims, such as Anne Boleyn, wife of King Henry VIII; Lady Jane Grey; Sir Walter Raleigh; and, more recently, even German spies; were brought here and executed. Some say their ghosts still haunt the castle to this day.

Photo: The Tower Guard protect the entrance to the Crown Jewels.

The Tower is home to the priceless Crown Jewels (protected by the Tower Guard), the Yeomen Warders (also known as “Beefeaters”) and the legendary ravens, who guard the castle. As the most secure castle in the country, it also has been home to the Royal Mint, the Royal Armories and even a zoo.

The Beefeaters were originally part of the Yeomen of the Guard, the monarch’s personal bodyguards (who were allowed to eat as much beef as they wanted). Seven ravens live at the Tower, and these legendary protectors are cared for by the “Ravenmaster” (also a Beefeater). Legend has it that if the ravens leave, both the Tower and the kingdom will fall.

When in London, the Tower is a must-see as you get to know this world-class city.

Photos: The famed Tower ravens, and Tower of London grounds.

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Take a Quick Tour of Hyde Park, One of Eight Royal Parks In London, England (30-Second Video) | International | Video

Hyde Park is one of eight Royal Parks in London, England. After visiting Hyde Park in 2017, I know you can spend a dreamy day there and not see all of its 350 acres, but you’ll have a jolly good time trying!

Photo: Map of Hyde Park.

Established in 1536 and set in the heart of London, Hyde Park is a must-see when visiting England. Once the site of several duels, the park is now home to various events, demonstrations and concerts, and it seems like there’s always something going on. Yet there are also many quiet, tucked away spots where you can relax, picnic or just take a breather.

Photo: Strolling along the Serpentine.

Don’t miss the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, which will bring out all the feels. You also can take a swim in the Serpentine, or just gaze at the lake from a nearby café.

Photo: Statue of Achilles, monument to the Duke of Wellington. Sculpted by Richard Westmacott and unveiled in 1822, it is made from a melted enemy cannon and on public display in Hyde Park, London.

Among the park’s many activities are tennis and horseback riding, and there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy. But you may prefer to just take a leisurely stroll or bike ride through nature and history!

Photo: Queen Elizabeth Gate by Hyde Park entrance.

Photo: Beautiful aerial view from above Hyde Park, London.

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5 Quick & Easy Tips to Stretch Your Summer Travel Budget

TRAVEL & RECREATION — Many of the nation’s leading travel experts are predicting a surge in travel this summer. It’s no surprise that after months of restrictions, Americans are ready to set out on their next adventures. While popular destinations like Yosemite National Park are likely to be open and welcoming visitors, the uptick in traffic combined with higher prices may translate into more expensive travel.

Image of a sunrise from out a an airplane window.

Image by Eva Darron.

1. Be flexible on travel dates and destinations.

Unless your travel is tied to a specific event or occasion, try searching with flexible dates to find the best available rates. Similarly, if you know you want to get away but you’re not particular about where, try looking for destinations offering special promotions or deals for travel during certain timeframes.

Image of an Italian seaside village.

Image by Jack Ward.

2.  Consider trip interruption and cancellation policies.

Planning for the unexpected can help protect you if a trip needs to end early or be canceled altogether. Unless you have travel insurance, you’re likely to lose money on non-refundable expenses such as flights, event tickets, or tours. However, some travel companies or your credit card provider may cover reimbursement for certain prepaid expenses. Look into what options are available before you travel to avoid extra headaches when the unexpected occurs during a trip.

3.  Get rewarded no matter how you travel.

Using your credit card rewards to offset travel costs is a smart strategy, but not everyone wants or needs perks like miles or points that are exclusive to use with a single travel partner. With point-based travel reward cards, the more places you visit, the more rewards you reap along the way that can be redeemed for future experiences, statement credits, gift cards and more. That means no matter what hotel chain you stay at, car rental agency you select or airline you fly with – or as you mix and match to get the best deals – everyday adventurers have opportunities to earn rewards points for doing things they love.

Image of a Mayan pyramid.

Image by Arthur Cofresi.

4.  Come up with a realistic budget.

When you’re planning a trip, it’s easy to focus on the big-ticket expenses like airfare and hotel rooms. The reality is, when you add up all the smaller expenses, you may spend significantly more than you realize. To plan a more accurate budget, be sure you account for expenses like dining out at restaurants, paying for fuel at the pump, and tickets to attractions and events. Don’t forget fees that add up, too, like tips for housekeeping, checked bags, Wi-Fi access, parking, and souvenirs.

5.  Research and book free and discounted attractions.

Some attractions offer discounts for purchasing tickets in advance online, age-based discounts, or free admission at certain times or dates, so be sure to look into any attractions you hope to visit ahead of time. If you’re a travel rewards credit card holder, start your search by looking into your redemption options. If your card offers flexible options by booking through a specific partner site or dedicated travel platform, you might be able to redeem points or make your spending dollars go further toward earning more rewards for the cost of experiences, entertainment and other expenses while you travel.

Image of a VW bus driving through the mountains of Utah.

“Not all who wander are lost.”  — J.R.R Tolkien

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Time Is Money: A Quick Wage-Hour Tip on … Travel Time Pay | Epstein Becker & Green

As COVID-19 restrictions have continued to loosen or be lifted altogether, employees have gradually resumed working in the office—and traveling away from it for work-related reasons.  When it comes to travel time in the employment context, the answer to the question, “Do I need to pay for that?” often has no straightforward answer.  Rather, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) regulations, whether time an employee spends traveling is compensable depends on the type of travel.  In this month’s Time Is Money segment, we provide a refresher on when and how employers must pay employees for travel time.

Ordinary Home-to-Work Travel

Time employees spend during their normal commute—i.e., traveling from home to their regular workplace before the beginning of the workday and from the workplace back home at the end of the workday—is not considered work time, and therefore, is not compensable.  See 29 U.S.C. § 254(a)(1) (“walking, riding, or traveling to and from the actual place of performance of the principal activity or activities which [an] employee is employed to perform” are not compensable activities); 29 C.F.R. § 785.35 (“Normal travel from home to work is not worktime.”).

This general rule applies regardless of whether the employee works at a fixed location or at different job sites.  However, if a particular work site is significantly further, and the commute to that location significantly longer, than the employee’s typical home-to work commute (e.g., 5 miles versus 50 miles), the employer should consider paying for that longer commute.

Same Day Out-of-Town Travel

If an employer requires an employee who regularly works at a fixed location in one city to travel for a one-day assignment in another city, the travel time to and from that out-of-town destination counts as time worked and must be paid, even if it occurs before and after the employee’s regular workday.  This is because, unlike an ordinary home-to-work commute, such travel is performed for the employer’s benefit to meet the needs of a particular and unusual assignment, and therefore, it qualifies as an integral part of the “principal” activity that the employee was hired to perform.  See 29 C.F.R. § 785.37.

However, the employer may deduct the time the employee would normally spend commuting to the regular work site because, but for the special assignment, the employee would have had to report to the regular work site.

Travel That Is “All in a Day’s Work”

An employee who travels from job site to job site throughout the course of the workday generally must be paid for that time.  As an example, if an employee must report at a meeting place to receive instructions or pick up tools and then travel to a job site, the travel from the meeting place to the job site is “part of the day’s work” and counts as hours worked.  See 29 C.F.R. § 785.38.

If the employee must return to the employer’s premises after the last job of the day, that travel time also counts as hours worked.  However, if the employee goes straight home from the last job site instead of returning to the employer’s premises, it becomes a normal home-to-work commute, which is not compensable.

Overnight Out-of-Town Travel

An employee’s travel away from home involving an overnight stay involves a more nuanced analysis to determine whether, and how much, of that travel time is compensable.  In this scenario, the DOL takes the position that any travel time that occurs during the employee’s “normal working hours” on any day of the week counts as time worked—irrespective of whether it occurs on a regular workday (e.g., Monday through Friday) or on a non-workday (e.g., Saturday or Sunday).  See 29 C.F.R. § 785.39.  This is because the employee simply substitutes travel for other duties.

Conversely, the DOL does not consider as work time any time an employee spends traveling as a passenger outside of the employee’s normal working hours.  An important exception to this general rule is where an employee performs actual work while traveling, such as reading documents or sending business emails while on a train or bus, or where the employee’s principal work activity is to drive a truck, bus, or other vehicle.  In the latter example, traveling is the work the employee has been hired to perform and must be paid.  See 29 C.F.R. § 785.41.

This analysis is more difficult to apply where the employee has no normal working hours.  The DOL has issued guidance outlining three permissible methods employers may use to reasonably ascertain an employee’s normal work hours for purposes of determining compensable travel time:

  • If the records of an employee’s time during the most recent month reveal typical work hours, the employer may consider those as the normal hours, unless some subsequent material change in circumstances indicates the normal work hours have changed;
  • If the records do not reveal any typical working hours, the employer may choose the average start and end times for the employee’s workdays; or
  • If an employee truly has no normal working hours, the employer and employee may agree on a reasonable amount of time or timeframe in which travel outside of the employee’s home community is compensable.

Once the employee arrives at his or her out-of-town destination for a business trip involving an overnight stay, the analysis essentially reverts to that as if the employee were in his or her home community.  That is, time spent commuting from the hotel to the work site before the regular workday, and from the work site back to the hotel at the end of the workday, is like a normal commute and therefore need not be paid.  And if the employee is completely relieved from duty and performs no actual work while at the hotel, the employer likely may consider that non-compensable “off duty” time.  See 29 C.F.R. § 785.16.  Of course, an employer must pay the employee for any actual work he or she performs while traveling.

Other Considerations

The fact that certain travel time is compensable under the FLSA carries with it important consequences.  Critically, employers must implement a method for tracking travel time.  Having an accurate record of such hours enables the employer to properly pay an employee who was engaged in compensable travel.  And because compensable travel time constitutes “hours worked,” it counts towards the 40-hour per week threshold for overtime under the FLSA.

Lastly, as with all wage and hour issues, it is important to confirm whether the state or locality within which your traveling employees work does not have different travel pay requirements than the FLSA, as certain state and local laws may have more demanding travel pay requirements.

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Quick Recap: Grizzlies Handle Thunder 125-118

The Memphis Grizzlies traveled to Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday for a late matinee matchup with the Thunder. Memphis, receiving excellent news right before tip-off that their defensive stopper Dillon Brooks would be back and in the starting lineup, had a renewed energy. Riding the high of great news, along with a two game winning streak, could the Grizzlies take care of business in Oklahoma City?

Detroit Pistons v Memphis Grizzlies

Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

First Quarter:

The Grizzlies lacked professionalism in their loss to the Houston Rockets eight days ago – a team that had lost 12 straight games. Facing another sub .500 team in Oklahoma City, you know that taking care of business would be heavy on their minds. The Grizzlies led in the first quarter by as much as 15 on the Thunder. Getting off to a hot start was good to see.

The Grizzlies led the Thunder 38-26 heading to the second quarter.

Second Quarter:

The second quarter felt like a roller coaster for the Memphis Grizzlies. The first few minutes of the second quarter featured the Thunder simply played harder than the Grizzlies. It appeared that everyone was noticeably frustrated in Grizzly blue. Every time the Grizzlies distanced themselves from the Thunder, Oklahoma City came right back.

The Grizzlies held a 61-54 lead heading into the half despite the inconsistent effort on both ends of the floor.

Memphis Grizzlies v Oklahoma City Thunder

Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

Third Quarter:

The Grizzlies bounced back with a solid third quarter, outscoring the Thunder 34-25 as their defense came alive and the Thunder regressed to the mean. The Grizzlies looked more whole in the third quarter as they carried a 95-79 lead to the fourth quarter in Oklahoma City.

Fourth Quarter:

The Grizzlies continued to keep the Thunder at bay. Dillon Brooks is a guy that played a huge role for Memphis in terms of his energy throughout the entire game. Brooks had an excellent comeback game after missing nearly two months with an ankle sprain. Despite the lack of a whistle in the fourth quarter, Memphis would take a 125-118 victory in Oklahoma City giving Memphis their 47th victory on the year.

Final Stats:

Jaren Jackson Jr. – 18 Points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists in 29 minutes

Desmond Bane – 21 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists in 31 minutes

Dillon Brooks – 15 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds in 25 minutes

Ja Morant – 17 points, 10 assists, and 5 rebounds in 33 minutes

The Grizzlies will look to extend their winning streak to four games on Tuesday night as they travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers.

For more Grizzlies talk, subscribe to the Grizzly Bear Blues podcast network on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and IHeart. Follow Grizzly Bear Blues on Twitter and Instagram.

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Russia Ukraine War News LIVE Updates: Travel to Budomierz check-point for quick entry into Poland, says Indian embassy to stranded nationals

Russia Ukraine news Live updates: The Indian embassy in Polish capital Warsaw on Wednesday advised Indians stuck in Lviv and Ternopil and other places in western Ukraine to travel at the earliest to the Budomierz border check-point for a relatively quick entry into Poland. In an advisory, the embassy asked the Indians to consider avoiding the Shehyni-Medyka border crossing which has been witnessing very long queues and massive gatherings of people.

India has launched an evacuation mission under which its nationals from Hungary, Romania, Poland and Slovakia are being brought back home after their exit from Ukraine through its land border crossings.

It said the embassy has deployed officials in Medyka and Budomierz border check-points who will receive all evacuees and facilitate their travel to India.

The embassy said the transportation charges will be paid at the hotel by the embassy, in case Indian students do not have funds for it.

Other updates on Russia-Ukraine:

  • US closes all airspace to Russia
  • Operation Ganga’: 6 flights departed for India in 24 hours
  • Russian airborne troops land in Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv
  • Biden says Putin will pay ‘over the long run’ for Ukraine invasion

!1 New UpdateClick here for latest updates

Indian tricolour came to rescue of fleeing Pakistani, Turkish students

India’s national tricolour came to the rescue of not only the stranded Indians but also those hailing from Pakistan and Turkey to cross into the neighbouring countries of Ukraine. The students narrated how they bought spray paints from the markets to prepare Indian flags. They added that even some Pakistani and Turkish students passed checkpoints using the Indian flag.

Reverberations from Russia’s Ukraine invasion are felt in China

  • In one fell swoop, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has forced a momentous change in thinking for Western leaders and strategists. Putin’s willingness to go to war demonstrates how other authoritarian leaders – like Xi Jinping in China – could also act in ways the West finds irrational and unexpected.

  • The consensus has been that China would not really invade Taiwan, that such a gamble would cost China too much militarily, economically and diplomatically. However, the calculus has now changed, for Xi is cut from the same cloth as Putin.

  • The bloody invasion of Ukraine – a democratic nation assaulted by an authoritarian state – must cause a reevaluation of assumptions about the risk appetite in both Russia and China. This soul-searching should have far-reaching implications for not only Europe and the USA, but for Asia too.’

Just stop the bombing: Ukraine President to Russia on future of talks

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia must stop bombing Ukrainian cities before meaningful talks on a ceasefire could start, as a first round of negotiations this week had yielded scant progress.

  • Speaking in an interview in a heavily guarded government compound, Zelenskiy urged NATO members to impose a no fly zone to stop the Russian air force, saying this would be a preventative measure and not meant to drag the alliance into war with Russia.

  • Zelenskiy, who has refused offers to leave the Ukrainian capital as Russian forces advanced, also said Ukraine would demand legally binding security guarantees if NATO shut the door on Ukraine’s membership prospects.

War impact: Moscow Stock Exchange

Moscow Exchange won’t resume stock trading on Wednesday

United Air joins US peers

United Airlines ends its use of Russian airspace, suspends two India routes

UN General Assembly set to censure Russia over Ukraine invasion

G7 will seek to seize assets of key Russian elites

The Group of Seven major economies will convene a task force to focus on freezing and seizing assets of key Russian elites as it aims to put further pressure on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday. The move “will inflict financial pain on the powerful individuals surrounding (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and make clear that no one is beyond our collective reach,” Yellen said after a virtual G7 meeting of finance chiefs.

Instagram makes encrypted direct messaging available in Ukraine, Russia

Meta has announced that it is making encrypted one-to-one chats in photo-sharing service Instagram available to users in both Ukraine and Russia. Users on Instagram will be alerted to the option via a notification that will appear at the top of their direct message inbox. The notification will inform the users to switch over to an encrypted conversation if they wish to. Messenger and WhatsApp already offer end-to-end encryption to billions of users

Union Minister Smriti Irani welcomes Indians back home by speaking in regional languages on their return from war-torn Ukraine

Biden rallies Congress behind Ukraine, says Putin has ‘no idea what’s coming’

U.S. President Joe Biden assailed Russian President Vladimir Putin, barred Russian flights from American airspace and led Democratic and Republican lawmakers in a rare display of unity on Tuesday in a State of the Union speech dominated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russian airborne troops land in Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv: army

  • Russian airborne troops landed in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Wednesday, the Ukrainian army said, adding that there were immediate clashes
  • “Russian airborne troops landed in Kharkiv… and attacked a local hospital,” the army said in a statement on messaging app Telegram. “There is an ongoing fight between the invaders and the Ukrainians”

Biden joins allies, bans Russian planes from US airspace

President Joe Biden announced Tuesday night in his State of the Union address that the U.S. is banning Russian flights from its airspace in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine

Russian airborne troops land in Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv: AFP quoting Ukrainian army

Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh receives Indians returning from Ukraine at Delhi airport

Putin may circle Kyiv with tanks but he’ll never gain the hearts and souls of the Ukrainian people, and he will never weaken the resolve of the free world: Biden

Russia eyes sanctions workarounds in energy, gold, crypto

  • The harsh sanctions imposed on Russia and the resulting crash of the ruble have the Kremlin scrambling to keep the country’s economy running. For Vladimir Putin, that means finding workarounds to the Western economic blockade even as his forces continue to invade Ukraine.

  • Former Treasury Department officials and sanctions experts expect Russia to try to mitigate the impact of the financial penalties by relying on energy sales and leaning on the country’s reserves in gold and Chinese currency. Putin also is expected to move funds through smaller banks and accounts of elite families not covered by the sanctions, deal in cryptocurrency and rely on Russia’s relationship with China.

Brent oil breaks $110 a barrel, WTI up 5% on Ukraine conflict

Brent crude broke above $110 a barrel on Wednesday and WTI was up more than five percent as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continued to fan fears over supplies of the crucial commodity from the resource-rich region. Brent climbed 4.88 percent to $110.09, while WTI was up 5.06 percent at 108.64.

Joe Biden’s State of the Union address

US President sharply criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin and led a standing ovation for the embattled Ukrainian people in a State of the Union speech that he rewrote to address Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Biden says:

  • US stands with the Ukrainian people
  • Putin now ‘isolated from the world’
  • US troops will not engage in conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine
  • United States to join allies and ban Russian flights from using US airspace
  • American Express – Complying with US & international sanctions, which resulted in US halting relationships with impacted bank partners in Russia
  • Joining with European allies to find and seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets
  • Putin may make gains on battlefield but he will pay high prices over long run
  • We are choking off Russia’s access to technology that will sap its economic strength and weaken its military for years to come

Tennis: Russia banned from team events

  • Russia has been banned from defending its Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup titles but its players will still be allowed to compete at the Grand Slams and in regular tour events. The decision by tennis authorities follows Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week. Belarus, a key staging area for the invasion, which Russia says is a ‘special operation’, has also been banned from the international team competitions.

  • Russian and Belarusian players will be able to play on the elite ATP and WTA Tours but not under the name or flag of their countries, the governing bodies said.

  • The tennis authorities also suspended Moscow’s combined WTA-ATP event scheduled for October.

The US nuclear power industry is pushing the White House not to sanction Russian uranium & let uranium imports from Russia continue despite the escalating conflict in Ukraine, according to two sources familiar with the matter (Reuters)

Six flights have now departed for India in the last 24 hours, including the first flights from Poland. Carried back 1377 more Indian nationals from Ukraine: EAM S Jaishankar

America’s Boeing announces suspension of support for Russian airlines: AFP

Joe Biden on Russia-Ukraine

I just spoke with President Zelenskyy to discuss our continued support for Ukraine — including security assistance and humanitarian aid — as it defends itself against Russian aggression. We will hold Russia accountable, and our sanctions are already having a devastating impact.

Joe Biden on Russia-Ukraine

American company ExxonMobil to discontinue ventures at Sakhalin-1 project which operates on behalf of an international consortium of Japanese, Indian & Russian companies; will make no new investments in Russia

Scindia interacted with Indian students at Bucharest Airport

European Central Bank orders European arm of Russia’s Sberbank closed, reports Reuters quoting Austria’s Financial Market Authority

US President Joe Biden to deliver his first State of the Union address at 7:30 am IST

EU nations considering banning Russian ships from ports, reports Reuters quoting officials

Operation Ganga in full gear

Scindia meets Indian Ambassador to Romania, Moldova to discuss operational issues for evacuation

Operation Ganga in full gear

Satellite images show a 40-mile-long Russian military convoy approaching Ukraine’s capital Kyiv (Reuters)

Joe Biden to ban Russian aircraft from US airspace, reports AFP News Agency quoting US media

Embassy of India in Warsaw, Poland issues an urgent advisory to Indian nationals in Ukraine

Embassy of India in Warsaw, Poland issues an urgent advisory to Indian nationals in Ukraine

Apple pauses all product sales in Russia, limits Apple Pay, other services

World Bank preparing $3 billion emergency aid package for Ukraine (AFP)

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Lockwood residents hopeful for quick travel connections once Billings Bypass complete

BILLINGS — On Tuesday, Lockwood resident Melinda Oedekoven said she’s excited for Billings Bypass renovations to hopefully provide quicker access from her home on Johnson Lane to her daughter’s home far north in the Billings Heights.

Whether she takes Interstate 90 or cuts through Billings, “No matter how you’re looking at it, it’s 20 minutes. Whereas I bet you this way, as the crow flies, it’s going to be seven (minutes). So that’s attractive. The thing that’s not attractive is I don’t know how much more traffic it might put on Johnson Lane,” Oedekoven said.


MTN News / Mitch Lagge

Lockwood resident Melinda Odekoven speaks with MTN News following a Billings Bypass public meting hosted by Montana Department of Transportation.

The Johnson Lane I-90 interchange is scheduled to get an update as part of the multi-phase Billings Bypass construction project. Once complete, the construction will establish a new route, connecting Lockwood to Billings Heights via a new bridge over the Yellowstone River.

On Tuesday night, project organizers held a public meeting to update residents on construction progress. Things are moving along on schedule, but two phases got their time lines switched.


MTN News / Mitch Lagge

People view Billings Bypass diagrams at a public meeting at the Montana Pavilion on the Metrapark Campus in Billings.

Now, work will start first on the railroad and Coulson Road overpass, followed by Johnson Lane improvements.

The switch was made, “To allow more time to interact with the public on the Johnson Lane interchange and to provide utility for the new railroad bridge segments that’s currently being constructed to Coulson Road. Such that users can use the new bypass route across the river,” said Doug Enderson, Billings Bypass project manager.

The change in schedule shouldn’t change the overall project deadline, Enderson said. The multi-phase project is expected to wrap up sometime in 2025.

110921 DOUG ENDERSON.jpg

MTN News / Mitch Lagge

Doug Enderson, Billings Bypass project manager and transportation engineer at DOWL in Billings.

Once work on the overpass is complete and the roadway is connected to the new bridge, traffic can start to drive the bypass while crews finish work on the Johnson Lane improvements.

A major change to Johnson Lane will be the addition of a diverging diamond interchange around the I-90 on and off ramp area. The interchange will be the first of its kind constructed in the state.

“Traffic will actually swap over to the other side of the road to safely turn on and off the interstate,” Enderson said.

While the interchange looks complex, its designed for safety and efficiency. People may have encountered this type of roadway in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Vehicles would no longer have to cross into oncoming lanes to make a left onto the interstate. With the new interchange, there would be a dedicated path of travel for vehicles that would have had to make the more risky left turn.

Watch the video below to see an animation of the Johnson Lane diverging diamond interchange in action.

How the new diverging diamond will look at Johnson Lane in Lockwood

The interchange’s addition will make for easier maneuvering for big rig drivers, said James Balzer, sales manager for Jackson Group Peterbilt.

“Diverging diamond coming, certainly impactful for us. Getting on and off the interstate. No question, traffic backs up there regularly in and out of the area multiple times a day,” Balzer said.

110921 JAMES BALZER.jpg

MTN News / Mitch Lagge

James Balzer, Jackson Group Peterbilt truck sales manager.

The Peterbilt shop is located north of the Johnson Lane interchange on the frontage road, in the area where crews are tentatively scheduled to start work in

The area receives a lot of truck traffic, with many businesses in the area utilizing the 18-wheelers. The area also hosts two truck stops and a truck wash located nearby the I-90 on and off ramps.

With trucks often towed to the Peterbilt repair shop, “Length is the key factor for us. We need big roads, wide roads to get those things around. I think that intersection being so predominantly trucks, it’s important that it stays truck friendly, because everything over there is trucks,” Balzer said.

The railroad overpass is expected to be complete sometime in 2022 with the Johnson Lane interchange tentatively scheduled to wrap up sometime in 2023.

To learn more about the project and its individual phases, visit the Montana Department of Transportation web site by clicking here.


MTN News / Mitch Lagge

A view of the Johnson Lane interchange in Lockwood looking south.

RELATED: Portion of Mary Street, Five Mile Road closed for Billings Bypass construction work

RELATED: Billings and Yellowstone County plan for bypass roadway

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A brash move from United, Capital One’s new premium travel card, where to get a quick COVID-19 test and more

A brash move from United, Capital One’s new premium travel card, where to get a quick COVID-19 test and more

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