Officials select firm to manage overpass project

Columbus has hired a national engineering firm to serve as the city’s project manager for an estimated $30 million railroad overpass project at the State Road 46/State Road intersection.

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission on Monday unanimously approved a contract not to exceed $95,000 with Strand Associates, a Wisconsin-based company that has a Columbus office. The firm will be responsible for communicating with the Indiana Department of Transportation and to provide biweekly written reports of the project’s status and schedule to the city, according to the contract.

Strand Associates will work with city-hired designers and provide feedback on designs.

It will also communicate with INDOT’s land-acquisition department to review schedules and progress, the contract says.

The firm’s contract with the city begins Nov. 1 and will continue until 2019, when work on the overpass project is expected to begin, said Dave Hayward, executive director of public works/city engineer. The railroad overpass project was announced in early July in Columbus, where Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that the project had been accepted by INDOT.

The state has agreed to pick up $15 million of the overpass project’s cost, while local partners, led by the city of Columbus, are picking up the remainder of the cost. Of the city’s share, $4 million will come from Central TIF District funds, while other funding sources include about $5.5 million from the Cummins Engine Plant TIF District funds, up to $2.5 million in state or federal highway programs in addition to cost savings, $2 million from Bartholomew County government and $1.5 million from CSX and Louisville & Indiana Railroads.

Hayward told redevelopment commission members that INDOT has submitted an application for a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation. If the state agency is awarded the grant, the federal government would pick up 80 percent of the project’s cost, Hayward said.

Hayward added he expects to hear back in about six months about the grant.

“We’re realistically thinking it’s a long shot,” Hayward said after the meeting.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com