GREENFIELD — Construction work on a busy north-south thoroughfare in Greenfield is nearing completion.
Officials expect Franklin Street, which runs parallel to State Road 9 and is used by motorists looking to bypass downtown traffic, will open next week after a months-long widening project. They’re planning a ceremony to celebrate the completion for Sept. 28.
A portion of the road — from Main to Tague streets — has been open to traffic since earlier this summer, but work between Tague and Davis streets is ongoing.
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The project — which widens Franklin Street and adds a center turn lane — has been underway since April and has remained on schedule — at times running ahead — despite a rainy start to the summer.
Officials hoped for years to make the Franklin Street project a reality: The roadway was in terrible condition, they said, yet is traveled on frequently, including by heavy commercial vehicles that tear up the road.
The construction is expected to make the road a safer and easier thoroughfare to commute on between Main and Tague streets.
Widening it and adding a turn lane will ease the traffic flow in the area and will offer an improved detour around downtown, officials say.
The approximately $2.25 million project was funded mostly 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 streets.
City engineer Karla Vincent said crews were finishing the road’s surface early this week and needed to address some finishing touches before the road can be opened.
There have been few hiccups along the way — though crews ran into issues with some utility lines, and the city had to close the Franklin Street crossing of the Pennsy Trail — said city engineer Karla Vincent.
“It’s gone really well,” Vincent said. “We’re looking forward to completing it and getting it all the way open.”
City officials are eagerly awaiting the completion of the project, which has been on the city’s to-do list for several years.
In addition to improving traffic for locals, the project will improve the street for commercial traffic as well, project organizers say.
The construction has likely been inconvenient for drivers who typically use the street daily, but there haven’t been any major problems, said Greenfield Police Department Chief John Jester.
“These projects are a huge inconvenience, but when they’re complete, it’s going to be good for everyone,” Jester said.
In addition to a wider road, crews will create new sidewalks and curbs in the area.
Mayor Chuck Fewell said he’ll be excited to open the road once it’s ready. He expects to see traffic flow significantly better in the area; if drivers use Franklin Street to bypass downtown, it could also alleviate downtown traffic as well, he said.
“It’s going to be an extremely nice street once it gets open,” he said. “It’s a great project.”