Columbus submits projects to alleviate train woes

Columbus officials are working to find solutions in dealing with the massive increase in train traffic that will be coming through the city.

City officials say that the Columbus Redevelopment Commission has applied for “mobility project” awards as the first step to address the restructuring of State Road 46/State Road 11. They called restructuring the intersection as the most critical piece of a multi-faceted plan that city officials have been working on over the past year.

The increase in train traffic, which is slated to go up exponentially, has loomed large over the city for the past couple of years. Mayor Jim Lienhoop says that coming up with a solution has been a focus of his administration since he took office just over one year ago.

Both projects being submitted by the city are meant to alleviate traffic delays at the railroad crossing at State Road 46. One project involves relocating the existing L&I rail line west from its current location. Another, involves building a combination State Road 46/State Road 11 overpass that would take vehicle traffic over the train tracks. She adds that, even if one of these projects are selected, INDOT construction will not begin until 2022. The increase in train traffic, and accompanying vehicle traffic delays, are expected to begin in earnest in 2018.

Other parts of the city’s railroad strategy include the installation of equipment for “quiet zones” within city limits and partnering with Bartholomew County officials to improve alternate routes in and out of the City, including Lowell Road. In addition, city staff is exploring temporary actions to ensure residents continue to have access to city services and emergency equipment and services. The city will also be enhancing communication with the public and sharing railroad information through a new website, as well as and social media.