GREENFIELD – A busy thoroughfare on the city’s west side will be reconstructed to improve traffic along a road many local drivers use as an alternate route to State Road 9.
City officials have taken the first steps needed to expand Franklin Street north of U.S. 40, adding a center turn lane to the street that runs parallel to State Road 9.
Recently, the Greenfield City Council approved the purchase of property at 1002 W. Main St., which sits at the northwest corner of Franklin and Main streets.
City officials say the empty commercial property – formerly Summers Construction – sits along the right-of-way line. The building stands where utilities must be relocated to widen the intersection, said utility director Mike Fruth.
The building will have to be razed before any pre-construction work can start. City officials are in negotiations with the property’s owner, Jacob Huck, records show, to finalize the sale, Fruth said.
Adding a center turn lane on North Franklin Street from U.S. 40 north to about Seventh Street will ease congestion created by cars stopping to turn left off Franklin Street, making the thoroughfare safer for drivers, city officials say. And officials hope widening and improving the street will encourage residents to use it rather than State Road 9, which could eliminate some of the traffic snarls on that busy highway.
Some 6,000 cars drive on Franklin Street every day, city traffic counts show. State Road 9 sees as many as 14,000 cars, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation.
A similar project on Franklin Street between Tague Street and U.S. 40 was completed last year. The project, which widened the street to three lanes, improved road conditions for industrial traffic and residents who travel it frequently, city officials said.
Ideally, construction would start next year, Fruth said. Duke Energy has to relocate overhead poles and lines to the west to accommodate the project.
Cost estimates for the second phase of construction haven’t been released, but the south Franklin Street project cost more than $2 million, with 80 percent of the project funded by INDOT.
The first phase of construction on Franklin Street enhanced a portion of the road traveled mostly by industrial and commercial vehicles. The next phase will target an area mostly traveled by area residents, officials said.
Franklin Street is the only city road that stretches from the north city limit to the south city limit, making it paramount the stretch of road is safe for drivers look to avoid State Road 9, Mayor Chuck Fewell said.
Eventually, city officials would like to see the road expand even farther north, Fewell said.