Sewer projects in works to accommodate Franklin’s growth

To further industrial and residential growth, Franklin is planning two sewer interceptor projects which together cost $13.6 million.

A $3.6 million sewer project to facilitate industrial growth on Franklin’s eastside will start this July. An estimated $10 million project to facilitate westside residential growth is under design.

The eastside project was awarded last month to Atlas Excavating. The company had the low bid, coming in at $800,000 less than the estimate for the project, said Mark Richards, Franklin’s city engineer.

New pipes sized to support anticipated flow from warehouses that are in the works east of Interstate 65 will be installed, and the lift station on Jim Black Road will be relocated to an area near Interstate Warehousing, Richards said.

The project will require pipes to be laid under both I-65 and State Road 44, but the contractor will bore a hole under the road and thread the pipes through it to minimize interruptions to traffic and Indiana Department of Transportation projects that are already underway, he said.

The project will close Jim Black Road for a period of time, but that part of the project will be timed to coincide with the city’s planned reconstruction of the road, Richards said.

The eastside project is expected to take about a year to complete, according to the contract.

The Franklin City Council approved funding for the project in April 2020. A bond for up to $5.2 million will be paid for with future revenue from the city’s sewer utility, according to city documents.

About the time the eastside project finishes, Richards expects the westside interceptor to be ready to go. Right now, design of the westside project is about 30% complete, he said.

New pipe will be installed in an area near Franklin Community High School to an area near the Bluffs at Youngs Creek subdivision, where a new lift station will be installed, Richards said.

The westside sewer system is already near capacity. The upgrade is needed to allow for new home construction that is expected in coming years, he said.

The westside project is more expensive because housing developments require a much larger capacity than the warehouses, logistics and ecommerce businesses that will develop east of I-65, Richards said.

Other work is already underway to look for leaks in existing infrastructure, repair those leaks and clean the sewer along U.S. 31, to relieve stress on the existing system until the new pipes come online, he said.

A bond for the westside project is expected to be approved this fall or early next year, depending on how quickly the project’s pieces come together, said Jayne Rhoades, Franklin’s clerk-treasurer. It will have the same structure and be paid for with future utility revenue.

The city’s existing wastewater facility has enough capacity to support both projects, Richards said.