After many years of planning and debate, a city officials approved a 5-lane widening project for Columbia Avenue in Franklin.
Aldermen for the city approved a five lane project in a vote of 5-3, Tuesday night. The plan won out over a plan for four lanes and round-a-bouts on the busy street.
Business owners on the street have been largely critical of the idea. Pat Stockdale of Franklin Guitar & Repair said the business could relocate in response to the move.
"We've had an opportunity to look at the plans and if they go with the plan they are currently voting for, our parking lot ceases to exist," Stockdale said. The small guitar shop believes construction could possibly block parking at all or keep walk ins from noticing the store.
However, alderman Clyde Barnhill said the council would work with all of the business owners.
"We'll design the road. We'll go back and interview all of the merchants on way, let them see what's happening there, then we'll get feedback from the merchants on what we're doing and some of the access on Columbia Avenue," said Barnhill. He added the five lane project with lights is a more favorable option because round-a-bouts in the other plan would've eliminated several businesses.
"What we did last night is certainly not chiseled in stone. We're flexible in some of the things that we need to do," said Barnhill.
The reason Barnhill gave for why leaving the road alone include population growth that could bring Franklin to 140,000 people. He said this and other projects are preparing the city for certain growth.