COLUMBUS, INDIANA – Today, Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI), along with Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop, representatives from Bartholomew County, and other state and local leaders officially announced two new investment projects that will have a positive economic impact on the Columbus community and the state.
The first investment is an approximately $30 million railroad overpass for State Road 46, a primary entrance and exit for drivers into and out of downtown Columbus. The overpass is a necessary solution as CSX moves forward with its plans to make approximately $100 million in upgrades to L&I’s Louisville to Indianapolis rail line. These improvements will be completed in mid-to-late 2018, after which CSX expects to begin increasing the number, size, weight and length of trains. As a supplier of engines in rail applications, Cummins officials recognize the vital role trains play in hauling critical goods, and it was important to ensure the solution was workable for all parties involved.
Columbus has relatively few entries from the west that cross these tracks and additional train traffic is expected to produce significant delays for those using these routes. A majority of Cummins 8,000 employees and downtown traffic would be impacted. The concern is especially acute for the local rail crossing at Indiana S. R. 46, near its intersection with Indiana S. R. 11, which crossing carries approximately 40,000 vehicles per day.
The State of Indiana, the City of Columbus, Bartholomew County, Louisville & Indianapolis Railroad and CSX came together to address the potential issue and arrived at the overpass solution, which will be financed by several parties, including the Indiana Department of Transportation, the City of Columbus, Bartholomew County and the railroads. .
The rail solution was imperative for the city of Columbus and especially Cummins, since a majority of its employees use S.R. 46 each day in their commute. Without a solution, the increase in trains would have significantly disrupted productivity and the quality of life for Cummins employees and for Columbus residents and businesses.
“We are grateful to all the parties who came together to reach a solution for the long-term success and sustainability of downtown Columbus businesses and residents,” said Rich Freeland, President and COO, Cummins Inc. “A rail solution was critical to our future, and we are pleased to make a renewed commitment of approximately $50 million to our global headquarters in Columbus as we near the next hundred years of our company. Cummins will continue its commitment to architecture in our buildings and will ensure that the design of the overpass integrates well within the architectural legacy of Columbus and reflects the welcoming and progressive culture of this great community.”
The overpass investment and solution ensured that Cummins could maximize its investment of approximately $50 million to renovate the Cummins Corporate Office Building (COB) in Downtown Columbus.
The COB was designed by Kevin Roche and built as Cummins’ corporate headquarters in 1983 under the direction and vision of J. Irwin Miller. The building has not undergone extensive renovation since it was built, and to bring it up to current Cummins standards, the entire facility will be renovated. The project will accommodate 1,200 employees when it is completed in 2019, as Cummins celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Cummins’ Freeland added, “As we near our 100th anniversary in 2019, updating the COB, our global headquarters, takes on special meaning as we turn this iconic building into a remarkable place to work for the next generation of Cummins employees. The renovation will be an investment that benefits employees and the community and will preserve this architecturally significant building.”
The new COB will incorporate art and improved lighting throughout, support both collaboration and efficiency, and allow for adjustment into the future. It will also provide added meeting spaces necessary for the Company.
“This railroad overpass project demonstrates what is possible when business, state and local officials work together to find creative solutions that benefit Indiana communities,” Gov. Holcomb said. “I commend the team at Cummins for their ongoing collaboration and investment that benefits employees, the City of Columbus and our state’s economic vitality.”
Mayor Lienhoop observed that these projects provide the most recent example of The Columbus Way: the creation of partnerships among public and private entities that improve our economy and our quality of life. He indicated, “We are very pleased to see the results that come from working together. The willingness of Indiana’s leadership to listen, recognize and respond to our city’s transportation challenge is heartening. The commitment that Cummins has shown, and continues to show, to Columbus has never been better displayed.”
Renderings of the proposed overpass are below.