Local News

Some Downtown Raleigh Streets Now Open To Two-Way Traffic

Posted July 24, 2006

— With less than a week before the reopening of the new Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, workers spent the weekend putting finishing touches on the 16-month-long, $9.33 million project.

"We've already put down the final inch of asphalt on the whole street, so now, we're trying to tie up what we got remaining on the sidewalk area," said Fayetteville Street project manager Dean Fox.

Crews finished working on parts of Hargett and Martin Streets for two-way traffic conversion.

Since 1977, the 100 to 400 blocks of the historic Fayetteville Street were closed to traffic and served as a pedestrian mall. City planners hope the reopening of the street will attract new retail, restaurants and residents to the Downtown area.

It will also serve as Raleigh's parade route, festival site and center of Downtown's activity.

Rain forecast for the next few days, however, could be an obstacle for crews, but Fox did not expect many problems, if any.

"We think we got this project at the point where small showers won't (have an) impact (on) us that much," he said.

The city reopens Saturday to a city-sponsored celebration called "Raleigh Wide Open," which begins at 6 p.m. and will feature live music, street vendors and a parade. WRAL's Debra Morgan and Greg Fishel will host the event, which will culminate with the WRAL Fireworks Extravaganza, set to begin at 9:30 p.m.

Buildings along Fayetteville Street will also get spruced up. The Raleigh Arts Commission plans to display artwork in the windows of vacant storefronts to make them more attractive. Existing businesses plan to do the same.

The Fayetteville Street project is part of a greater effort by the city to revitalize the downtown area. Efforts are also under way to build a new convention center, a four-star hotel and a parking deck in the area to attract more visitors to the area.

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