Columbus ready for major road closure: Railroad repairs will shut down State Road 46 beginning Friday morning

For The Tribune

Jackson County motorists heading to Columbus this weekend should take note of a road closure.

Railroad repairs will close State Road 46, just west of State Road 11, from about 9 a.m. Friday to Monday afternoon.

City and county safety officials are asking drivers to know alternate routes and exercise patience through what they’re hoping to be merely a minor inconvenience.

“We encourage people to go out and start planning ahead,” said Lt. Matt Myers, spokesperson for Columbus Police Department. “And, remember, traffic is going to be congested.”

A 13.4-mile detour route — as measured by Google Earth — has been mapped by the Indiana Department of Transportation. It suggests drivers wrap south around town, using State Road 11, County Road 450S, also known as Southern Crossing, and Interstate 65.

City officials said people could use alternative routes, such as taking State Road 11 to County Road 200S and traveling north on Terrace Lake Road and Carr Hill Road. According to Google Earth, that route would be 7.8 miles.

According to INDOT, more than 32,000 vehicles travel through the intersection daily.

For commuters, it might be best to plan on an extra 15 to 30 minutes of travel time each morning and afternoon, depending on congestion.

City Engineer Dave Hayward, city police and INDOT officials discussed a lane restriction as an alternative to road closure but decided it was best to make the fix quickly.

They estimated a lane restriction would take weeks longer to complete and still be a difficult for drivers attempting to drive east and west on State Road 46.

INDOT and Louisville and Indiana Railroad won’t start construction until 9 a.m. Friday, after school buses go through for morning classes.

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