Plan to smooth things over

When deciding to open a key route into downtown Franklin, the city had two choices — keep the road closed longer or open it with a noticeable bump.

After three years of construction and closures, the city decided to finally open Main Street, one of the main routes into downtown.

But for now, the pavement is uneven, causing a bump when motorists turn from Main Street onto U.S. 31. The city knows about the issue and hopes to have it fixed as soon as the end of the month, officials said.

In order to fix the bump, workers will need to lay down the final layer of asphalt. But recurring heavy rains during the past month have delayed installing the smooth final layer of asphalt on the road, Franklin Mayor Joe McGuinness said.

“When the rain is pouring down like it has been, you don’t want to pour concrete or asphalt,” McGuinness said. “With so much money and time invested in this project, we want to ensure the best quality in the asphalt lid. We want to make sure it’s not torn up.”

The layer of asphalt currently exposed on Main Street is known as the binder and is approved for safe car and truck travel, McGuinness said. Though rougher than the finished product, it won’t damage vehicles, he said.

Work to North Main Street has been ongoing for the last three years, with sections of the road closing for months at a time. Both the city and motorists were eager for the road to reopen. By waiting to put down the final layer, the city was able to open the road two weeks ago, McGuinness said.

“The alternative was to leave the road closed until the final layer of asphalt could be put down, but we felt the people living and working along the route had been through enough over the past few years,” McGuinness said.

Landscaping work still needs to be completed before the surface can go on the road, said Travis Underhill, Franklin city engineer

“We don’t do the surface until all the work with large equipment and delivery trucks is complete,” Underhill said. “That work is still taking place.”

Weather permitting, the city hopes to have the final asphalt layer down by the end of July, bringing smooth travel back to North Main Street, McGuinness said.

“We know that the bump is there, and we are going to take care of it,” he said.