TUPELO and PONTOTOC, Miss. (WCBI) – In just two weeks, motorists will have an uninterrupted, four-lane link from Highway 45 in Tupelo to Interstate 55 in Batesville.
That’s good news for commuters, Ole Miss football fans and companies doing business across the state. But the anticipated opening of Mississippi Highway 6 could impact some businesses at the Lee-Pontotoc County Line. WCBI’s Allie Martin has more.
On this day, a lone runner is heading east on what will be the new Highway 6. In 14 days, this four-lane will provide motorists with a quicker route from Tupelo to Pontotoc, Oxford and on to the Delta. For years, that traffic has traveled this two-lane stretch of Highway 6 and several businesses at the Lee and Pontotoc County line have flourished. Jesse McAlister has around 120 regular customers at his County Line Barbershop. He hopes those customers keep coming for haircuts when the new four lane opens.
“I’m unsure about it if it’s going to hurt, help or be indifferent.”
McAlister realizes he may miss out on some potential customers who are not planning to stop in either Pontotoc or Tupelo, so he’s looking at options to place some sort of sign or billboard at the intersection of the new four lane and county line road.
Across the street, the West End Market and Deli has been doing a big business for breakfast and lunch, and employees don’t expect that to change. James Ezell has been cooking breakfast and lunch for hungry customers for 11 years now. He believes quality will keep them coming back, new highway or not.
“We will still have our local people, but people who travel, they might not come down through here, unless they get off on the wrong road, but likely we will still have our same clientele.”
Plus, West End also operates a successful catering business that is especially busy this time of year. Bottom line, area workers are counting on customer loyalty and great service for steady business.
“People come to you as long as you are friendly, we try to be friendly around here.”
“Well, we will find out in two weeks, I guess. ”
At the Lee -Pontotoc County Line,. Allie Martin WCBI News
That four lane section of Highway 6 opens July 15th. Total cost for the project is around 68 million dollars.