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Proposed 6W changes spark new store plans

The Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved the recommendation of the Planning Commission to allow owners of a parcel of property on Hwy. 6W to subdivide the land into two lots for commercial use.

The 10 acres, located between Collision Tech (555 Hwy. 6W) and The Co-Op (725 Hwy. 6W), will be split into six and four-acre lots. Across from Pride Hyundai, the lots have been planted in soybeans and other row crops for years, but will be the site for a new convenience store.

“This will be a really nice convenience store for that location,” said Joe Azar, who spoke in support of the proposed plat. “We had a good meeting with MDOT and this is the area that Highway 35 will come out onto Highway 6 if that plan goes well.”

Azar was referring to an initial meeting of local officials and representatives of the Mississippi Department of Transportation recently, where city and county leaders proposed the state change the route of Hwy. 35S coming into Batesville.

Instead of 35S ending in a stop sign beside the overhead bridge on Hwy. 6W, it would turn west, then north, and meet the highway somewhere west of Pride Hyundai, probably across from the salvage yard on the north side of Hwy. 6W.

Azar told the board the meeting was a first-step of a new plan to have that portion of Hwy. 6W widened to four lanes and the overhead bridge made safer. “We could a four-lane all the way to Clarksdale, which is the ultimate goal, if this section of the highway can be done. That’s the hardest part, that area from First Security Bank all the way out of town. If we get that done, hopefully in our lifetime, the rest of the way would be easy for MDOT,” Azar said.

Plans for dealing with the traffic congestion on Hwy. 6 through Batesville have been the topics of many meetings and hours of discussions between MDOT and city officials for decades. There was once a bypass proposed, and several ideas about ways to add lanes to the busy thoroughfare have been presented in years past.

No plan has ever been accepted and seen through. Meanwhile, Hwy. 6 remains one of the most traveled stretches of highway in the state, and one of the least safest.

Four-laning the highway from Eureka Rd. in Batesville to the intersection of the proposed new route for 35S would ease the immediate need for traffic relief, and set in motion a long-term project to add lanes west to Hwy. 61 outside Clarksdale.

With the re-routing of Hwy. 35S, the city can also expect to see an increase in retail businesses for that part of Batesville, though not on the scale of the growth currently happening along Hwy. 6 in the eastern areas of the city.