Revised overpass plan has good points

Columbus officials have been working on ways to offset the impact of longer, heavier and more trains that are expected to start coming through Columbus in the second half of 2018.

CSX Transportation is leasing Louisville & Indiana Railroad tracks between Louisville and Indianapolis, which travel through Columbus and Seymour. CSX is investing $100 million in improvements to create a high-speed rail line for northbound freight.

That’s raised concerns locally about more traffic delays, and issues regarding noise and safety — particularly the ability of emergency responders to get to and from the west side of town.

The key component of the city’s plan to offset the problems would be the creation of an overpass to allow motorists to avoid train traffic. Recent changes to this plan reflect a lot of good insight, including:

Moving off the current path of State Road 46 further south and traveling through what is currently farmland to an overpass constructed over the railroad tracks and State Road 11.

Moving the proposed overpass further south on State Road 11, and making it longer and wider than originally designed.

Using a pretzel pattern to allow access to the overpass on the east side so drivers entering or leaving Columbus would travel unimpeded, including no stoplight, on State Road 46.

Realigning the railroad tracks further west, and creating new grade crossings at Tellman Road, County Road 100N and Indianapolis Road, where the tracks meet the original railroad alignment.

Creating a new railroad bridge over the Driftwood River west of Mill Race Park.

The blue-sky proposal, which would cost an estimated $94 million to implement, covers all of the bases — except funding, which is a huge next step if the Indiana Department of Transportation approves the plan.

The proposal would greatly reduce impacts of updates planned by the Louisville & Indiana Railroad, which got federal approval for its track running through Columbus.

Whatever option is chosen will be expensive. However, what would be more costly is doing nothing, which would be catastrophic for the Columbus community.

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