Paving that will close several streets in Beaufort -- including the Downtown Historic District's main thoroughfare -- has been postponed until after Labor Day weekend.
Opponents of the original schedule worried the closures would hobble business during one of the last significant periods of the summer season.
The city's mayor scored the new plan as a triumph of cooperation.
"We have so little control (over the paving), but fortunately enough people got together to get it turned around," Mayor Billy Keyserling said. "As far as I'm concerned, Labor Day should be considered a second Thanksgiving, for all those who worked hard to get this mess straightened out."
Work was to begin Monday on Charles Street between Boundary and Bay streets, according to plans provided by the S.C. Department of Transportation. Work on Bay Street, which cuts through the heart of the downtown and historic and shopping districts, was to begin Aug. 26 and would have closed the road to vehicles for three to five days.
The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Beaufort, USA, discussed the closures and ways to blunt their effects on Friday. Then they learned from city manager Scott Dadson that work initially scheduled to begin Monday was being postponed so that state and city officials could discuss a more business-friendly schedule.
Many in the audience said paving should be delayed until after Labor Day in case construction ran into the holiday weekend. On Monday, officials with the Department of Transportation agreed.
"We weren't the only ones screaming in their ear, I reckon," Dadson said after meeting Monday morning with the DOT's contractor.
Weather permitting, the new schedule is:
- Sept. 3 to 6: Bay Street between Hamar and New streets.
- Sept. 9 to 13: Lafayette Street between Audusta Street and the point where Lafayette turns south.
- Sept. 16 to 20: Charles Street between Boundary and Bay streets, and North Street between East and Adventure streets.
- Sept. 23 to 30: Waddell Road between Battery Creek and Talbird roads, and Battery Creek Road between Allison and Mossy Oaks roads.
"It was almost too much of a risk to take," Main Street director LaNelle Fabian said, describing pre-Labor Day roadwork. "There were some who preferred the original schedule, but most said they wanted the week after Labor Day."
Closures will still be necessary, and additional plans will be announced as the project dates draw closer. The city has been working on alternate parking and traffic flow plans.
The chamber and Main Street Beaufort plan special events that they hope will bring people downtown during construction.
Although the fall tourist season gears up in September, chamber president Blakely Williams said the timing is as good as it's going to get.
"That week actually has the fewest number of buses coming in during the month of September, so it's as good of a time as any to knock it out," she said.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.