Rail crews installing high-speed rails are expecting to be completed with the Bartholomew County section by June 8.
Crews from R.J. Corman Railroad Group of Nicholasville, Kentucky, have been working to install high-speed rail line through Bartholomew County since the weekend of April 22. Workers are closing railroad crossings for the Louisville & Indiana Railroad and CSX Railroad as the rail line is upgraded between Seymour and Indianapolis.
The railroads are not upgrading the rails at the State Road 46/State Road 11 intersection during this construction project, but will come back to do that work at an unknown date in the future, said Andrea Janka, spokeswoman for Safety Services & Supply Inc., the company handling public safety for the project.
The new rail line is in preparation for longer, faster and heavier CSX trains to begin hauling freight northbound on the Louisville & Indiana tracks beginning in the third or fourth quarter of 2018, Mayor Jim Lienhoop said in an earlier interview.
It won’t be sooner than that because the railroad must first replace the Flatrock River Bridge near Columbus. The century-old rail bridge needs to be widened for modern rail traffic and upgraded to carry the double-stacked rail cars the railroad plans to use.
In 2016, the railroad finished installing newer high-speed rails between Seymour and Columbus and is installing the new high-speed rail from Columbus to Indianapolis this year, Lienhoop said. The Flatrock River bridge project will then come in 2018, possibly being completed by the third quarter of that year, he said.
City consultant American StructurePoint’s impact study shows that the city will have as many as 22 trains a day traveling through the State Road 46 intersection compared to eight now, and the trains’ length will be longer, from 5,100 feet now to 7,500 feet in the future.
Two different crews are working on the rail upgrade this week, one crew north of Columbus and the other south, Janka said.
The schedule for work beginning Wednesday for rail crossings that will be closed south of Columbus.
Wednesday through Friday: County Road 760N and County Road 1000N and possibly County Line Road in Jackson County.
Saturday: Poplar Street, Mill Street, Jackson Street and Wright Street crossings in Jonesville.
Sunday: Bartholomew County Road 850S, County Road 800S and possibly Wright and Eckert streets in Jonesville.
June 5: Eckert Street, County Road 650S and possibly South Street in Jonesville.
June 6: South Street in Waynesville and County Road 550S in Bartholomew County.
June 7: Private road and possibly Staden Street crossings at Walesboro.
June 8: Staden Street, County Road 400S, Deaver Road and Vails Street south of Columbus.
A second crew will be working in Edinburgh in northern Bartholomew County beginning Wednesday. Here is that crossing-closing schedule.
Wednesday: County Road 800N, 900N and possibly County Line Road
Thursday: County Line Road, Perry Street, Thompson Street, Main Cross Street and Naomi Street.
Friday: County Road 800N, 900N and possibly County Line Road
Saturday: County Line Road, Perry Street, Thompson Street, Main Cross Street and Naomi Street.
Sunday: County Road 700E and County Road 650S
June 5: Private crossing
June 6: County Road 700E and County Road 650S
June 7: Private crossing
At all the crossings, each road will be closed twice, once to complete one side of the rail and then a second time to complete the other side. Crossings should only be closed for a few hours at a time and will not be closed overnight.
In Edinburgh, the city is asking motorists to heed a detour that will send traffic toward Center Cross Street, which is State Road 252, as this highway will remain open through the entire process.
The railroad reserves the right to change the schedule at any time due to weather, equipment malfunctions or other factors.