Franklin studies next pedestrian trail segment through city

Daily Journal Staff Writer

Two pedestrian bridges would carry walkers and bikers over a creek and wetland, and trails would take them from downtown Franklin to the eastside and the high school.

City officials are continuing to work out the details of the next trail project to help create an eight-mile loop around Franklin.

Work is set to begin next year on three miles of trail, costing $2.2 million, scheduled to open by the end of 2016.

The next steps for the project include getting more than 5 acres of land needed for the project and setting aside the funding.

More than 3 miles of new trail will start at King Street and Eastview Drive and end at U.S. 31 and Commerce Drive. The new trail will follow the city’s truck route, along Commerce Drive, Commerce Parkway, Arvin Drive and Eastview Drive.

The project will cost about $2.2 million total, with $1.8 million in construction costs alone, city engineer Travis Underhill said. Federal grants will cover 80 percent of the cost, and the city will pick up the remaining 20 percent of the project, Franklin parks and recreation department director Chip Orner said. More than 5 acres of land will be needed next to the four main roads to complete this project.

The path will connect downtown to the east end of the city, using existing trails near Webb and Needham elementary schools.

Residents also would be able to walk or bike from downtown Franklin to Franklin Community High School, since the high school already has more than three miles of trails circling the campus and ending on the west side of the intersection of U.S. 31 and Commerce Drive.

Two pedestrian bridges will be installed along the path, one cross-ing Hurricane Creek near Needham Elementary and one on Commerce Drive over a wetland area, Orner said.

Once the new segment is done, the parks department wants to complete the loop of trails citywide by connecting the high school to existing trails at Custer Baker Intermediate School, Orner said.

“This (path) is the biggest loop that we’re missing now,” Orner said.

Once the three miles of new trail have been constructed between Eastview Drive and U.S. 31, the city will start looking at buying the land needed to connect the high school’s paths to the trails near Custer Baker.

Orner said he wants to see the entire loop completed within five years.

The parks department wants to create an official master plan for the Historic Greenway Trails system by the end of the year, Orner said. A general map of where trails should be in Franklin was created years ago, but a master plan was never established.

With a master plan in place, he said, smaller interconnecting trails would be planned for, and an overall timeline and budget can be established.

At a glance

Another section of trail will be constructed in Franklin next year, connecting downtown to the high school on the north side of Franklin.

About the project:

  • Amount of trail to be added: More than 3 miles
  • Total cost: $2.2 million, with 80 percent of the cost covered by federal grants
  • Amount of land needed to complete project: 5.3 acres
  • Starts: King Street and Eastview Drive
  • Ends: Commerce Drive and U.S. 31
  • Special features: Two pedestrian bridges installed to cross a creek and a wetland area