Columbus has approved a grant that will be used to pay a landscape architectural firm to advise the city on proposed landscaping for a railroad overpass project expected to begin next year.

The Columbus Board of Works on Tuesday agreed to accept a $28,000 grant from the Cummins Foundation that will be used to pay Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. to advise and review landscaping for the overpass project at the State Road 46/State Road 11 intersection. The board also approved a proposal from the Brooklyn, New-York based firm that calls for recommendations through diagrams, sketches and written communication beginning in April.

The firm also will advise the city on the location and treatment of retention ponds and other green spaces due to the overpass, according to the agreement.

Van Valkenburgh Associates was selected since it originally was responsible for existing quincunx tree plantings on the south side of State Road 46, said Heather Pope, redevelopment director for the city. The Columbus Board of Works will pay all invoices received by the firm and will be reimbursed for expenses through the grant, Pope said.

Van Valkenburgh in 1989 designed the city’s 85-acre Mill Race Park, completed in 1993.

The $30 million overpass is being constructed to deal with a projected increase in train traffic through Columbus. The state has agreed to pick up $15 million of the cost, while other partners have also chipped in — including the city of Columbus, Bartholomew County, Cummins Inc., and the Louisville & Indiana and CSX railroads.

Initial construction work on the overpass project is expected to begin in 2019, according to the city.

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