By this summer, residents will be able to ride bikes in a new lane along a street to reach the Historic Greenway Trail or two nearby parks.
Construction on King Street, between Hurricane Creek and Forsythe Street, started this week. Construction company Dave O’Mara Contracting will be installing new sidewalks, curbing and pavement for the next two months.
The project should be complete by early June.
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During construction, King Street will be closed except to residents who live along that stretch of road, Franklin city engineer Travis Underhill said. Motorists should instead use Jefferson Street as a detour, he said.
City officials have spent the past three years improving run-down streets, such as North Main Street and Monroe Street.
This King Street project will be similar to those renovations, except when the road is repaved, a bike lane will be added, Underhill said.
The bike lane will connect to nearby bike paths, the Historic Greenway Trail, Community Park and Morgan Park.
The total cost of the project is estimated at less than $500,000. In March, the Franklin Redevelopment Commission agreed to pay $540,000 to cover any contingencies or emergency costs related to the project. The money comes from the bond the commission borrowed to fund tax-increment financing district projects last year.
By the time the King Street repavement project is done, two other major projects will be starting.
The city is tearing up East King Street, from Eastview Drive to Interstate 65, to turn the interstate exit into a more welcoming gateway for residents and visitors to drive into Franklin.
The road will be repaved and grass, trees and flowers will be planted in the median between the east and west lanes.
The wide shoulders on either side of the lanes will be reduced, and the new design is aimed to make drivers naturally slow down.
In addition, the city will be installing two 34-foot pillars that will include the Franklin seal and important features from the community.
Trails will be added on the north side of East King Street to encourage residents to walk or bike from the downtown area out to the restaurants and shops near I-65.
Along with the East King Street makeover, the city also will be embarking on a four-year rehabilitation of Jefferson Street.
A portion of the project — on the west side of U.S. 31 — was completed last year, while the bulk of the construction is expected to start in August.
Construction will be broken up into many chunks instead of closing the road entirely for years, making it possible for shoppers and diners to still visit downtown shops and restaurants.
A public meeting on the Jefferson Street project is set for April 27.