Bobby Tolliver has never seen so many vehicles drive by his house.

Ever since construction began on three blocks of Jefferson Street in downtown Franklin, drivers have had to take alternate routes to get through the area, and many are using the street in front of his home.

Detour signs instruct drivers heading east from State Road 144 into Franklin to take U.S. 31 to King Street to Main Street.

But many drivers also choose to cut through Madison Street, one block south of King Street. Tolliver’s home is near the intersection of Madison and Walnut streets.

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“It’s kind of a pain,” he said.

“Things will be much better when it is done.”

He’s fortunate enough to have some parking behind his house, but getting out from the alley can be difficult, Tolliver said.

A three-year, nine-phase project to rebuild Jefferson and King streets began at the end of August. The route is being rebuilt from U.S. 31 to Interstate 65.

When the city plans detour routes, officials try to look at what makes the most sense for the increase of traffic and what routes drivers are likely to choose, Franklin City Engineer Travis Underhill said.

Detours give drivers directions to get around construction, but they aren’t mandatory, according to city officials.

Local drivers should use whatever route they think is safest and most direct for them, Underhill said.

Drivers should try to use alternate routes with streets further from the construction work if possible, Franklin Police Department Deputy Chief Chris Tennell said.

Extra traffic in areas that are usually only used by local traffic does cause complications.

Franklin police have received complaints about drivers going over the speed limit on Madison Street and of trucks violating the weight limit on King Street, Tennell said.

Officers have been told to patrol these areas for speeding drivers or overweight trucks, he said.

One challenge city officials face with road construction is making sure streets have the appropriate traffic signs.

Since construction on Jefferson Street began at the end of August, there have been two crashes at the intersection of Madison and Walnut streets. There were none the rest of the year. The neighborhood intersection is a two-way stop, with stop signs on Madison Street, but not on Walnut Street. Drivers in both crashes told officers they thought the intersection was a four-way stop.

A day after the first accident, the city added signs alerting drivers on Madison Street that cross traffic does not stop.

“A detour route is always a work in progress,” Underhill said. “You do your best up front when you choose it and sign it. You always monitor and work it. If there can be improvements made we would do so.”

Once the city adds signs because of a detour, it often will stay in place, he said.

At a glance

Here is a look at the project along Jefferson Street:

Under construction: Crews are working to rebuild Jefferson Street, from the gas station to Main Street

Timeframe: Work began last month and is expected to be done by the end of the year

Detour: Traffic is being routed north onto King Street

What’s next: The work is only the first phase of a three-year project along Jefferson and King streets between U.S. 31 and Interstate 65

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2702.