In the next few months, construction will begin on a new 3-mile trail that will connect two of Franklin’s key routes.
When the $2.2 million project is complete next year, walkers, joggers and bikers will have the option of going from U.S. 31 to King Street.
But the project also will help connect an 8-mile loop of trails and sidewalks throughout the city, including near Franklin Community High School and on the east side near Webb and Needham elementary schools.
Officials have been discussing the project for more than a year, and had been working to get the 5 acres of land needed from more than 15 property owners.
Now, the plan is to hire contractors to do the work and start the project by this fall, Franklin city engineer Travis Underhill said.
The new trail will run along the city’s truck route, starting at U.S. 31 following Commerce Drive, Commerce Parkway, Arvin Road and Eastview Drive to King Street. In addition to the trail, crews will also build two pedestrian bridges, over Canary Ditch and Hurricane Creek, and a railroad crossing, Underhill said.
The city is finalizing an agreement with the Louisville and Indiana Railroad, which has slightly delayed getting bids from contractors, Underhill said. He still expects to be able to start work late this summer or early in the fall, he said.
Once work begins, construction will take about 12 months. He expects the new trail to be done by July or August of 2017, he said.
Where construction will begin will be decided by the contractor the city hires, but Underhill expects work to first start on the foundations and other materials needed for the bridges, he said.
City officials have said the trail along the truck route is a big missing piece in Franklin’s trail system.
Next, officials want to look at connecting trails around the high school to existing trails at Custer Baker Intermediate School.