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Madison business owners hoping to draw in more customers now that County Line Interchange is open

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) -- Drivers and business owners alike had been foaming at the mouth for the County Line Road Interchange to open.

Friday's ribbon cutting of the $10.7 million project is also expected to pop the top on business growth in the area. The interchange makes roughly 800 acres of nearby land prime for economic development, but it is also expected to provide a spark to existing businesses in the area.

"Things are building up around us and we're noticing that a lot more mainstream stuff, but also small businesses too, and I think that's just a win-win for everybody," said Stem and Stein co-owner Jessica Petty.

Stem and Stein is a wine cellar and bar along County Line Road about two miles north of the Interstate and the owners immediately felt the effects of the road work.

"We noticed right away when the construction happened that we lost a lot of customers from Decatur and Hartselle because all of a sudden now, you can't just get on and off, you've got everything that you have to go around, so we noticed a hit at first," said Petty.

The project started in December of 2013 and finished ahead of schedule, but those 16 months of construction left their mark.

Officials said more than 20,000 vehicles per day travel County Line Road and those numbers are likely to double in a decade.

Petty said the owners of Stem and Stein plan to tap into that.

"We've talked about even if on that exit if we can get 'Stem and Stein' put on the actual exit sign. We're really just hoping to draw from Decatur and build that business up."

The orange barrels will not be gone for good, though. Work on County Line Road began in February. The road will be resurfaced and widened to five lanes for a six-mile stretch. It is expected to take about 18 months.