"It'll be a lot less hectic coming downtown with all the construction," said Wake County employee Rita Bailey. "It'll be a lot easier."
Bailey and Pamela Reid work at the Wake County Courthouse. Like so many downtown employees, they've stopped to take in the progress.
"I'm up on a higher floor, and to look over and envision what it's going to be is pretty amazing," said Reid.
Even Mayor Charles Meeker stopped by Friday for a look, and to pose for a proud picture.
"People are happy with the progress," said Meeker. "You can smell the tar. It seems like something is happening. People are pleased."
Meeker said the $10 million stretch of Fayetteville Street will open to cars right on schedule in mid-May. Twenty-five dump trucks dropped 500 tons of asphalt on just one block -- the first section workers need to pave before the street is drivable.
After the paving is done, the second phase of Fayetteville Street will begin. It'll go through the existing Convention Center and should be done sometime next year.
For city planners, it's just laying the groundwork for downtown development. Real improvement, they said, will be the new offices, restaurants, and condos that will pop up around the pavement.
Workers are already planting trees and finishing sections of sidewalk along Fayetteville Street. The ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for June 10.
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