Franklin Street project kicks off

GREENFIELD — The cones are coming.

Construction on Franklin Street is expected to begin this week, but the orange barrels that often mean slow-going will likely be a welcome sight for drivers who frequent the area, officials say.

The project to widen Franklin Street has been five years in the making.

A center lane will be added to make the road a safer and easier thoroughfare to commute on between Main and Tague streets.

Last week, crews were working to finish off-site drainage projects before starting construction this week.

Mayor Chuck Fewell said he’s happy the work is finally starting.

It’s been a long time coming, he said.

For about two years, the project was held up as the city dealt with right-of-way disputes to acquire land needed to make the project a reality.

Total cost of construction for the project is $2.25 million, with the Indiana Department of Transportation paying 80 percent of the bill.

The city already paid its chunk of the cost, $450,000, said city engineer Karla Vincent.

The start of construction work is a welcome sight because Franklin Street is in awful condition, she said.

There’s a lot of heavy commercial traffic, and the street is a well-traveled corridor, she said.

Three lanes should ease the traffic flow, she said.

But it will take time, with construction ongoing for most of the year.

The majority of the work should be complete by Dec. 1, Vincent said.

From Main to Tague streets, there will be two, 12-foot driving lanes and a center turn lane.

Widening the road will improve it for industrial traffic and motorists seeking an alternate route to stay clear of downtown, officials say.

Details about how traffic will flow through the area during construction are still being worked out, Vincent said. But officials are hoping to keep the road open through most of the project’s duration.

Later on, the road will be closed from Davis to Tague streets.

That likely won’t happen until summer or fall, Vincent said. Nathan Riggs, public information director for INDOT, said the project should have only minor impact on traffic on Main Street.

Still, the work is going to be inconvenient to motorists traveling in the area, Vincent said.

“It will be a long project, and it will definitely be inconvenient, but the final product will be much better than what we have today,” she said.

Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or