According to Borough Councillor Jim Smith, PennDOT officials told the Columbia Business Alliance in 1990 that it would take 25 years for a bypass proposal to move up its project list and come to fruition. The goal was to eliminate truck traffic through town, after business leaders identified that as a major concern. For decades, a continual barrage of trucks had rumbled through Columbia, following Route 441 to the lower end and points beyond. In the process, residents had routinely been disturbed, automobile traffic disrupted, and foundations of centuries-old historic buildings shaken.
In a year-2000 update, PennDOT said it would take 15 years for the project to continue up the docket - in line with its previous prediction.
Today, November 1, 2015, with only a week or so until completion, the project is essentially a reality.
"This is a good day for Columbia," Smith said today.
Smith said the project gained momentum after State Senator Mike Brubaker and State Representative Dave Hickernell threw their weight behind it and helped make it a priority.
He added that others were also influential in seeing the project through: Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Lehman, former Columbia Borough Manager Norm Meiskey, Public Works Director Ron Miller, Council President Mike Beury, and several councillors, including Mary Barninger and Kelly Murphy.
Sometime in the future, a section of the Northwest River Trail running alongside the bypass will connect with the northern section running through Marietta and beyond. Currently, county officials and LCSWMA are negotiating with Norfolk Southern for the tract of land between the two sections.
Council President Mike Beury and Councillor Jim Smith - two of the movers and shakers who helped make the Route 441 bypass a reality