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Paving project completed in time for festival

Trace and Co. crew works on paving of Main Street at Seventh Avenue. Trace and Co. crew works on paving of Main Street at Seventh Avenue.

The 600 block of North Main Street and the repaving of Seventh Avenue (U.S. 64 west) were completed early today in time for Friday's opening of the North Carolina Apple Festival.

Trace and Co. and its road striping subcontractor, New Dimensions, worked overnight Wednesday to get the work done. The work in the 600 and 700 blocks of North Main Street is part of a $1.4 million makeover of the downtown commercial area that ends with new landscaping and paving where Main Street meets King Street. The city also announced that four blocks of Main Street will be closed next Tuesday to fix brick paver crosswalks.

Trace and Co. lost 21 work days in July to rainfall of at least a tenth of inch, said company owner Todd Trace. A week ago the city got 2 inches of rain in 20 minutes, he said. That caused the contractor to enlarge a storm-drain pipe it was already working on.

The work on the 500-700 blocks included a narrowing of Sixth Avenue by taking out parallel parking and the repaving of Sixth and Seventh avenues as they cross Main Street. The work added nine parking spaces in the 600 block and 13 in the 700 block. The northern-most end of the 700 block is still blocked to traffic but will be opened for the parade on Labor Day.

City engineer Brent Detwiler, in an email on Wednesday, assured shopkeepers that the work would be done by the opening of the festival.

"Thank you for your continued patience throughout the project," he wrote. "The weather has not been very cooperative, but all of you have, which is greatly appreciated."

The engineer also said that the First through Fourth avenues will be closed Tuesday to reset brick crosswalks.

"The remainder of work includes curb and gutter, paving, electrical and landscaping in the 700 block (north of 7th Avenue), which will be completed in September," he said. "In addition, ground cover and perennials will be added to many of the at-grade planters in the 500, 600 and 700 blocks.  There are 3 remaining brick crosswalks to be installed from Allen to 1st, which will also be completed in September."