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Board seeks intersection design work

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Roundabouts are being considered for four intersections along a truck route in Franklin as engineers begin to study and design how to make the road better.

The city plans to use $815,400 for design work on the truck route intersections at Eastview Drive and Upper Shelbyville Road, Arvin Drive and Hurricane Road, Arvin Drive and Commerce Drive, and Commerce Drive and Graham Road.

The board of works approved the contract this week, and the city redevelopment commission will have to approve the spending at its next meeting.

Since Franklin took ownership of State Road 44 earlier this year, the city can now write tickets to truck drivers who travel through downtown.

Trucks will instead have to use the route around the northeast side to get between U.S. 31 and Interstate 65, so the city wants to rebuild the four intersections to better handle the weight and size of trucks.

Engineers will study what type of improvement will be best for traffic, create drawings, conduct environmental studies and prepare to buy additional land needed for the projects.

Roundabouts are a possibility for all the intersections because they are safer for both vehicles and pedestrians, and grants that would pay for construction are more widely available, CrossRoad Engineers vice president Trent Newport said.

The grants typically pay for 80 percent of the cost, although some cities have received grants that pay for 100 percent of the work, Newport said.

Greenwood recently received a grant to pay for the entire roundabout project at Main Street and Averitt Road.

Roundabouts could cost as much as $1.6 million at each intersection. The city hasn’t set a timeline for when the work would be done because it is still seeking grants.

Grant money gets disbursed in specific years, so the money would dictate the schedule for the project.

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