City leaders have approved a $10 million payment to the Indiana Department of Transportation for its share of a railroad overpass project at the State Road 46/State Road 11 intersection.

Columbus City Council on Tuesday voted 5-0 to approve the first of three payments to the state. Councilwomen Elaine Wagner and Laurie Booher were absent from the meeting.

The payment was initially scheduled to be sent to INDOT by Dec. 15, but the state wasn’t ready to receive the money at that time, said Jamie Brinegar, city finance director. The state has agreed to pick up $15 million, half of the project’s estimated $30 million overall cost, while other partners have also chipped in — including Cummins, Bartholomew County government and the Louisville & Indiana and CSX railroads.

The overpass is being constructed to deal with a projected increase in train traffic traveling through the city. An impact study from city consultant American StructurePoint showed that Columbus will have as many as 22 trains traveling through the State Road 46/State Road 11 crossing, and they will be longer, by the end of 2018.

The approval of the $10 million payment to INDOT will require the city to send the money by Feb. 15, Brinegar said.

Initial construction work on the overpass project is expected to begin in 2019 that will involve clearing right-of-way to allow for utility relocations to take place, said Dave Hayward, executive director of public works/city engineer.

The remaining $5 million toward the city’s share of the overpass project will be due in June and December next year, Hayward said.

Also during Tuesday’s council meeting, councilman Frank Miller was elected to serve a second year as council president.

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