Drivers heading through downtown Franklin will need to start using another set of detours: construction on Jefferson Street begins again today.
A three-year, $12.1 million project to rebuild Jefferson and King streets, from U.S. 31 to Eastview Drive, began last year. The work is being done in nine phases, and the city is planning to start the second phase today, and also complete phases three and four by the end of this year.
What that means for drivers is that another section of Jefferson Street will be closed. Drivers will be asked to use South Street and Home Avenue as a detour around the construction.
To start, the section between the Admiral gas station and Walnut Street will be closed for construction, which includes a new drainage pipe near Walnut Street at Roaring Run. Work from Walnut Street to Vaught Street will begin as well, but one lane will be kept open initially, and construction workers will direct cars through.
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Officials expect work between the gas station and Walnut Street to be done by May 1. Once that section re-opens, the city will close the stretch from Walnut Street to Vaught Street. Work on Jefferson Street from Vaught Street to U.S. 31 won’t be done until the final four weeks of the project. Work is set to finish before July 1.
The second phase wasn’t initially expected to begin in February, as earlier estimates had it starting in March.
“Everyone wants to get started early,” Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett said. “No one dreamed at this time of the year we’d have 60-degree weather.”
The early start will help ensure the project finishes on schedule in case of delays, such as lengthy periods of rain, he said.
Work began on the project to rebuild Jefferson and King streets last year, with the first phase of construction between North Main Street and the Admiral gas station, which included a few businesses.
The latest section, reaching west to U.S. 31, includes mainly homes and a few businesses.
For some residents, a key concern is getting in and out of their homes.
Deidre McCartney, who lives along Jefferson Street, is set to give birth to her second child as construction begins this spring. McCartney’s due date is mid-March, which means for much of the construction period she’ll have a newborn and an 11-year-old son. And she was concerned about getting in and out of her home during that time.
Residents on the north side of Jefferson Street will have access to their homes through an alley, which the city recently repaved, Barnett said.
On the south side, residents still will be able to get their cars to their driveways during the construction, Barnett said. Construction crews will make sure to help residents can get their cars across the street, Barnett said.
“If there is any inconvenience, they will communicate that with the homeowners,” he said.
For Amelia Smith, who also lives along Jefferson Street, the problem is getting to and from her house. She has a daughter who lives down the street and a caretaker, who both visit her.
For her, the concern is the noise from the construction.
“I don’t care for all that noise, but it can’t be helped,” Smith said.
The next two phases of work set for this year will be done further east on Jefferson Street. Work will take place from North Main Street to Home Avenue from July to September, and from Home Avenue to the railroad crossing from September to December.
Work on Jefferson Street resumes today. The second phase of work is expect to be complete by July 1. Here is a look at what is planned.
Admiral gas station to Walnut Street: Work is expected to be complete by May 1, after which it will open up again for traffic.
Walnut Street to Vaught Street: One lane will remain open until the section from the gas station to Walnut Street is complete. Then the section will be closed to traffic.
Vaught Street to U.S. 31: Work will begin in the final four weeks of the project.