RALEIGH, N.C. — Rising costs could slow the Fayetteville Street Mall renovation project in downtown Raleigh.
The city budgeted $8.7 to reopen Fayetteville Street to traffic by fall 2005, but bids for the project came in more than $4 million over the projected budget.
The City Council's Comprehensive Planning Committee met on Wednesday with the goal of making small changes to save big money. Some suggested changes include using asphalt for streets instead of concrete, which could save nearly $300,000.
"When you go to exciting streets in other cities, I don't know how much attention you are actually paying to the pavement that you are standing on or to the crosswalk you are walking on," councilor Jessie Taliaferro said. "What you are looking at is the storefronts and the people and the excitement -- the vitality that's there and the activity that's going on. We want to open the street back up to cars so that we can get some of that vitality back."
Engineers also say extending the 10-month construction project to 12 months or more could also bring down the price. The Downtown Raleigh Alliance believes that idea could stall a downtown comeback.
"Not only is that going to delay people from relocating to the mall, but increase the inconvenience to the existing property owners and tenants to the mall," said Margaret Mullen, of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.
The committee will hold a special meeting on Friday.
The goal is to have the street reopened to traffic before the new Raleigh Convention Center opens in 2007.