COLUMBIA — Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., said construction of a bridge for the Columbia Terminal Railroad will save lives and prevent accidents on U.S. 63.
Bond spoke during a ceremony Friday for the COLT railroad bridge, a $3.75 million project that will allow trains to pass over U.S. 63 instead of crossing over it. Bond secured $950,000 for the project in an appropriations bill.
The railroad currently cuts across the highway, creating problems for vehicles that have to abruptly stop for passing trains. Bond said that traffic problems related to the railroad continue to worsen, and he gave credit to city leaders for calling attention to the issue.
"The credit goes to the leadership of the community who have identified a problem," Bond said.
Most of the funds for the bridge will come from federal stimulus money. Bond said that only a small percentage of stimulus money is being used for shovel-ready projects and that the bridge is a project he supports.
"This is what the stimulus money should have been spent for," Bond said.
Bond, Water and Light Director Kraig Kahler and Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser unveiled the design for the new bridge at the ceremony. Nauser said the railroad is good for the environment because transporting materials by train keeps trucks off the road, and that the bridge is also important in ensuring the safety of drivers on the highway.
"It will help our COLT railroad safely conduct business," Nauser said.
The bridge will take about 15 months to complete. Construction will begin in August.