New Beaufort street paving schedule could affect tourism - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Beaufort street paving coincides with fall tourism season

New Beaufort street paving schedule could affect tourism

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BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) -

A Lowcountry paving project has been delayed by about a month.

And that's a problem for some in Beaufort.

October is a big month of tourism for the city.

Local leaders and businesses are hoping the new paving schedule won't affect their sales.

Last week, road crews worked around the clock to finish Bay Street in only two days and started paving Lafayette Street ahead of schedule.

But according to the South Carolina Dept. of Transportation, contractor APAC Southeast decided to hold off on finishing the project in order to wrap up work on Highway 278.

The road work will now coincide with the start of Beaufort's fall tourism season in early October.

"Fall tourism season for Beaufort is big business. Not only for our carriage companies and tour companies but for retailers also downtown, it also sets the stage for folks going into the winter, hibernation months if you will, " said Robb Wells, Tourism Division executive for the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.

From the annual shrimp festival to the home tours, local shops such as Southern Sweets usually see profits double during the month of October.

"So we'll go some days where we'll get 50, 60, 70 lunches which for a little place like this is a real handful," said owner Jack Sheehy.

Southern Sweets is celebrating its 12 year anniversary next month. Sheehy hopes there will be much reason to celebrate.

"What concerns me is if local people view it as being difficult to come downtown, they'll just stay home," he said.

WTOC spoke to DOT representatives. They say it's not uncommon for local contractors to change their schedules during a project as long as they finish on time.

Road crews are scheduled to start work on Beaufort's Charles and North streets in early October.

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