Inside the proposed rail elimination + realignment project

Photo by @tracey.c.green

“Sorry, I was stuck waiting for the train to go by” is one of the most commonly used phrases you’ll hear around the Capital City other than, “Go Cocks.” But good news Soda Citizens, the railroad tracks are leaving the station well, maybe. 

The rail elimination + realignment projecta city-wide renovation plan to reroute 15 railroad tracks — will allow vehicle traffic to flow with minimal interference from the dreaded Cola trains. Here’s the proposed solution Columbia is asking the federal government to come all aboard on.

Inside the proposal 

The project would separate the railroads from roadways by way of elevating a roadway over a section of the tracks, elevating tracks over the road, or doing away with a portion of tracks. The main roadways that would be affected by the rerouting are Assembly, Huger, Rosewood, Lincoln, and Flora. 

Breaking down the numbers

The plan could require between $180 and $220 million in funding. The state has pledged $35 million + Richland County and the City of Columbia will put forward a combined total of $15 million. In a press conference on Mon., May 2, Mayor Daniel Rickenmann said the city is hiring a third-party grant writer to apply for federal grants for the remaining funds. 

What’s next 

In Monday’s press conference, Mayor Rickenmann said improving the flow of traffic through railroad renovations has been in the works for over 120 years. He plans to move quickly if the city is given the grants, and said we should begin to see progress on the rail elimination project within three to five years.