Overpass traffic switch planned

A portion of the ramp system for the new Columbus railroad overpass is shown in this drone photo provided by the Indiana Department of Transportation. Submitted photo

Staff Reports

Milestone Contractors will make a traffic switch at the new railroad overpass in Columbus on Sunday, weather permitting.

Under the new configuration, crews will finish work to tie-in the new alignment to existing State Road 46.

The following traffic pattern will take place on Sunday and will be in effect for approximately three weeks. Westbound State Road 46 will remain one lane while work is completed.

The new configuration will be:

State Road 11 northbound to State Road 46 westbound routed on new loop ramp and bridge over State Road 11.

State Road 11 southbound to State Road 46 westbound use existing configuration.

State Road 11 southbound through traffic use existing configuration and section of temporary pavement.

The next traffic switch, planned in August, will move all traffic to the new alignment. Any remaining work will be completed under temporary lane closures with flagging when necessary.

Eastbound State Road 46 traffic was moved to the new loop ramps and bridge in late June.

The estimated $35 million project is being jointly funded by the Indiana Department of Transportation, city of Columbus, Bartholomew County, Cummins Inc. and the Louisville & Indiana and CSX railroads. The contract completion date is June 2021.

The overpass project was developed in response to a projected increase in railroad traffic on the Louisville & Indiana Railroad tracks. INDOT has agreed to pick up half of the total cost, while the city, along with other partners, pick up the half of the tab.

The railroad has leased its tracks running through Columbus to CSX, which is expected to result in an increase in train traffic, train speed and delays at intersections involving rail crossings through the city, with the State Road 46/State Road 11 intersection expected to have the most delayed local traffic.

The city has partnered with Cummins, Bartholomew County and the Louisville & Indiana and CSX Railroads to defray around half of the local funding requirements in the interlocal agreement, city officials said. A groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held in November.

About 40,000 motorists cross the railroad tracks at this intersection daily. To put it in perspective, an estimated 45,000 people live in Columbus, and 80,000 individuals live in Bartholomew County.

INDOT is asking motorists to drive carefully while traveling through the construction zone.

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Visit columbusrailroadproject.org for more information about the project.