(Columbus, IN) CSX Railroad is investing $100 million in improvements to the Louisville and Indiana Railroad between Louisville, KY and Indianapolis, IN. This rail line runs directly through Columbus, IN. According to railroad officials, these improvements will be completed sometime in 2018 and result in a substantial increase in the number of trains, their length, weight and speed of travel through Columbus. Rail traffic alone is expected to increase to 22 trains per day. One result of this project is that the Columbus west-side State Road 46 rail crossing will be the most adversely affected crossing on the entire L&I line.
With this in mind, the City of Columbus engaged the firm American StructurePoint to analyze the impact that additional train traffic will have on our City. American StucturePoint worked closely with Mayor Lienhoop and other city officials to establish a five-pronged approach to improve public safety and mitigate traffic issues.
This week the City took the first step to address the restructuring of State Road 46/State Road 11, by applying for two Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) “mobility project” awards. Restructuring this intersection is the most critical piece of the five-pronged approach that City staff has been working on this past year.
One project involves relocating the existing L&I rail line west of its current State Road 46 location. The other involves building a combination State Road 46/State Road 11 vehicular overpass. Both projects would alleviate traffic delays at the railroad crossing. Regardless, if either project is selected, INDOT construction will not begin until 2022.
Steps three, four and five 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. Additionally, City staff is exploring temporary actions to ensure residents continue to have access to City services. Actions include positioning additional emergency equipment and staff on the west side, addressing bus ridership needs, and enhancing communication with the public and sharing railroad information through a new website and social media.
Citizens are encouraged to visit the City of Columbus website, columbus.in.gov, for updates on this project and to learn about any new developments.