Local News

Holly Springs Bypass Diverting Business As Well As Traffic

Posted May 8, 2003 4:03 a.m. EDT

— When the Holly Springs bypass opened in December, residents, town leaders and even the DOT couldn't wait to hit the highway.

The 5-mile, $14 million highway diverts traffic away from downtown Holly Springs. But it's also diverting something else -- and causing problems.

The early report card is that the bypass has been good for traffic, but bad for business.

There is little happiness at Things of Joy Gift Shop, where profits have apparently taken the bypass.

"I would say probably at this point, we've lost 25-30 percent of our daily traffic," said business owner Laura Poteat.

The main drag in Holly Springs is a lot quieter. There are fewer cars and no trucks.

For business owners, it's too quiet.

"We're getting telephone calls saying: "How do I get to you? Where are you? The next thing I know, I was in some other town,'" Poteat said.

"So we feel like we've lost a lot of that business just because of the inconvenience of getting people off the bypass."

Talk about relying on car traffic -- Leapin' Lizards coffee shop used to do a steady drive-by business from 5:30 in the morning until 6 at night. Now, with the bypass open and traffic down, they close every day by noon.

DOT engineers say what happened in Holly Springs has happened in many towns where they've built bypasses.

Mayor Dick Sears said the bypass has had a regrettably negative short-term effect. He said a new Town Hall and several new businesses will help increase shopper traffic over the new few months.

But some of the existing businesses aren't sure if they'll survive the next few months.