Construction of new railroad overpass could bring growth to Cummins Engine in Columbus, Indiana
Project allows Cummins to move ahead with renovation of corporate headquarters
COLUMBUS, Ind. (WDRB) -- A multi-million-dollar railroad project means Cummins Engine County, the largest private employer in Columbus, is moving ahead with plans to upgrade its corporate headquarters.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb was on hand Wednesday to announce the construction of a $30 million overpass at the intersection of State Roads 46 and 11, the main entrance into Columbus.
Right now, the intersection is a bottleneck requiring vehicles to stop every hour as trains pass.
“This is huge. We’ve got about 40,000 vehicles a day that come across State Road 46 to get into our out of our downtown," said Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop said. "The population of this city is only 45,000. So we have a true traffic funnel on the west side of town."
The rail project allows Cummins to proceed with a $50 million makeover of its corporate headquarters downtown. Twelve-hundred people work in the building, which has not been upgraded since it was built in 1983. The renovation cements Cummins commitment to stay in Columbus as the company nears its 100th anniversary in 2019.
“The way the railroad sits, it basically cuts in half where our workers live and where and this place is," said Cummins President and COO Rich Freeland. "So we needed a plan and a commitment that it was going to be addressed so we could make this investment."
The overpass is being paid for by a combination of state, local and private funds.
“What we're seeing here today is truly the definition of teamwork in action,” Holcomb told the crowd gathered in the lobby of Cummins Engine headquarters.
Holcomb said if the state is to grow, it must invest in infrastructure. The state's gas tax went up by 10 cents a gallon on July 1 to help pay for roads and bridges.
“We're in the middle of it all in Indiana," Holcomb said. "We are the heartbeat of America. And being at the crossroads and crossrails of America, you have to invest in one of your greatest assets. One of our greatest assets is our infrastructure."
Both projects are to be completed by late 2018.
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