Rapid development combined with growth on the east side of I-65, including the new Nissan Americas Headquarters, created a significant demand for an additional east/west connector across the interstate. The City of Franklin wanted to efficiently handle the anticipated high traffic volumes while minimizing right-of-way impacts through the use of a functional, attractive entrance to the area.
The City engaged Gresham Smith to develop a distinct and effective design that conserves valuable commercial property. Our engineers recommended a Single-Point Urban Interchange (SPUI), a design that allows for increased traffic capacity and reduced delays by eliminating a step in maneuvering through the freeway interchange. In the SPUI design, all traffic movements are initiated at one large intersection controlled by one traffic signal. When the traffic signal turns green, opposing traffic moves quickly through the intersection.
In order to address the City’s request for an attractive gateway into the project, our design teams used the extra width of the bridge to incorporate unique aesthetics such as sidewalk plazas with landscape planters, colored and stamped concrete, decorative metal pedestrian railings and 19th century-style lighting fixtures. These design elements, along with the welcome monument signs at the ramp islands, help create a sense of place and arrival.
The new interchange offered the City of Franklin a unique opportunity to optimize vehicular mobility and has already significantly improved traffic conditions in the area. The aesthetic enhancements, not typically found in interchange improvement projects, have generated reactions of both surprise and delight among members of the community.