Drivers have heard this one plenty of times: North Main Street in Franklin will soon be closed for construction.
It’s the fourth and final year of construction, and workers expect to close part of the road starting next week.
Construction started on the southern end near Jefferson Street in 2012 as the city embarked on the $8.3 million project to rebuild the road, replace sidewalks, add decorative lighting and improve drainage on one of the main routes into downtown.
This last section, between the post office and U.S. 31, originally was to be done by the end of last year, but rain and cold weather stalled progress on previous phases, and the city decided to hold off until spring.
Story continues below gallery
Less than a month after making that decision, temperatures plummeted below freezing, which could have forced the city to keep the road closed all winter. That happened in Greenwood, where workers couldn’t get Worthsville Road reopened due to setbacks.
Now, work is preparing to begin again on the last section, which will be torn up and rebuilt this spring.
Workers started replacing a water line on the west side of the road last week but could close the road to all traffic as soon as March 30, CrossRoad Engineers project manager Brad Stahley said.
The road is scheduled to reopen in June.
You also might see crews patching a few places south of the post office, since potholes and winter traffic damaged some of the new pavement, Stahley said. No additional closures should be needed for the repairs. The work could be done as early as the last week of March but is more likely to be done the first or second week of April, Stahley said.
The road closure will affect multiple businesses located near U.S. 31, but customers will be able to get to those shops, offices and restaurants off U.S. 31 or from the intersection at Schoolhouse Road.
Workers have made arrangements with the Franklin Fire Department about splitting up work directly in front of Station 21, fire department spokesman Brad Epperson said. Workers will work in front of half the driveway at a time, so fire trucks will be able to get out of the station quickly and get to U.S. 31, he said.
The construction might add 30 seconds to response times, but the work shouldn’t cause any major problems for firefighters, Epperson said.
Construction on the first leg, from Jefferson Street to Graham Street, started in fall 2012 and finished in August 2013. During that time, residents and drivers bristled at the long closure, since most of the project area was torn up and closed the entire time.
When the city launched the second phase in 2014, Franklin divided it into three sections to minimize the impact on homes and businesses in the area. Workers completed the first section from Graham Street to the large intersection at Oliver Avenue, where a roundabout was built. The roundabout and first section were open in time for school starting in August, then workers closed the road up to the post office. Next is the final section beyond the post office.
The $8.3 million project has been mostly funded by federal grants, which pay for 80 percent of construction costs. The city has used its tax-increment financing district funds, which are collected from businesses and can be used for infrastructure, to pay for matching costs.
The project not only helped beautify a corridor into downtown but helped improve drainage and utilities for residents and businesses and made the area more walkable, Mayor Joe McGuinness said.
“It’s been a long, tedious project and difficult for people to navigate or get to their homes or business, but I think the long-term benefits will be tremendous,” he said.
Workers will close North Main Street in Franklin next week to begin rebuilding the last section of the road. Here’s what’s coming up:
Expected closure date: March 30
Where: From the post office to U.S. 31
What: Crews will tear out the existing road and rebuild it, replace sidewalks and install decorative lighting and landscaping.
How long: Work is expected to be completed in June.