Despite rain, Franklin Street widening on schedule

GREENFIELD — Construction work to widen Franklin Street in Greenfield remains on schedule, even after a rainy June.

The project has been underway since April, as crews work to widen and add a center turn lane on Franklin Street between Main and Tague streets.

Work is going well, city engineer Karla Vincent said. Crews plan to reopen a portion of the road to traffic next week, weather permitting, before moving on to the next section from Tague Street to Davis Road.

City leaders are planning for the project to be completed by December.

Officials hoped for years to make the Franklin Street project a reality: The roadway was in terrible condition, they said, and is traveled on frequently, especially by commercial vehicles.

They said they hoped widening it and adding a turn lane will ease the traffic flow.

Mayor Chuck Fewell said he’s pleased with the project’s progress, especially in light of the poor weather the area has experienced this summer. He said he’s looking forward to the result.

“It’s going really well for the amount of rain we’ve had,” he said. “They’ve made good progress.”

But Vincent admits the project has encountered a few bumps.

Crews ran into issues with utility lines in the area, Vincent said.

“It was expected,” she said. “You’ve got every utility known to man out there. It has slowed the project down slightly.”

Drivers and Greenfield residents hoping to use the Pennsy Trail also encountered some inconvenience.

At the start of the project, drivers were forced to travel the wrong way in the area. That has tapered off in recent weeks, but people are driving too fast for a construction site, Vincent said.

Because of construction in the area, the Franklin Street crossing on the Pennsy Trail has remained closed to trail users and will remain closed until the winter when the road is complete. The pavement isn’t level in the area and poses risks to walkers, Vincent said.

Despite the setbacks, crews are preparing to move on to the next phase of the project.

They said they hope to open Franklin Street from Main to Tague next week, but rain is in the forecast and could cause a delay. Once the first portion of Franklin Street opens, the road will be closed to traffic from Tague Street to Davis Road, Vincent said.

Drivers traveling south on Franklin will need to use State Road 9 as a detour; those traveling north can take Franklin from Tague toward Main.

The new roadway will be worth the wait, officials said.

The $2.5 million project was mostly funded by the Indiana Department of Transportation. Once complete, there will be two 12-foot driving lanes and a center turn lane from Main to Tague.

“It gives us three lanes of traffic. It’s a new road, and it’s going to have new sidewalks and curbs,” Fewell said. “It might be an artery locals can use to get around downtown traffic.”

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