Trips through Franklin are about to get a little easier.
Drivers through downtown Franklin have faced detours off of Jefferson Street, where ongoing work has closed another section of road, and South Main Street, where a bridge is being rebuilt.
Next week, the bridge over South Main Street is set to reopen, allowing traffic another way in and out of downtown.
And work on the third phase of Jefferson Street is also on schedule, set to wrap up by mid-September, city engineer Mark Richards said. But after the work between Main Street and Home Avenue ends, crews will move to the next phase between Home Avenue and the railroad crossing, he said.
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Opening the South Main Street bridge will be a big help to traffic heading in and out of downtown, Mayor Steve Barnett said.
“It has definitely inconvenienced anybody trying to go to town or travel home after work,” Barnett said.
But the roads will be smoother and won’t require significant work again for several years, he said. And the work on the railroad crossings being done by the railroad company has affected more people and prompted significantly more complaints, he said.
Traffic has been detoured to Home Avenue while the South Main Street bridge has been closed, but some motorists have been trying to detour through the park, only to have to turn around since Main Street is closed, Richards said. But he has not gotten any complaints, he said.
Work on the bridge will be finished as soon as Tuesday and the bridge is expected to open then, as long as weather allows, but some final work still needs to be done off the bridge, county highway department director Luke Mastin said.
Crews will still need to install decorative lighting and finish a trail planned underneath the bridge, Richards said.
Next year, work is also planned to stabilize the banks of Youngs Creek near the bridge and to finish a parking lot just north of the bridge, Barnett said.
Work will also continue on Jefferson Street, where six more phases are planned through the end of 2019.
Crews have stayed on schedule with the current project, phase 3, which is set to reopen by Sept. 15, Richards said.
But while work on the road is expected to be done then, some work will continue in the section between Main Street and Home Avenue on the sidewalks, Richards said. That means parking spots along Jefferson Street will need to remain closed in that area until the work is done, he said.
As soon as crews finish with the third phase of work, they are ready to begin moving utility lines and start on drainage work on the fourth section from Home Avenue to the railroad crossing, which is set to finish by the end of the year, Richards said. Next year, that work will continue on the other side of the railroad tracks, along with work on King Street near Eastview Drive.
“We are looking forward to the end of this construction season, so we can open things back up before closing it back down again next season,” Richards said.