Bridge Construction Causes Slow Business

The official opening of the Pascagoula bridge is Monday, but for several hours Saturday morning, hundreds of cars got to cross it. Pascagoula may be getting a new bridge, but nearby businesses say it's currently making them lose money.

Businesses like Exxon, only a few feet away from the bridge, had to be closed off from Highway 90. All three of the main entrances were blocked off causing a decrease in customers.

"We've seen only 30 customers since I got here today at five," said Stacie Biggs, an Exxon employee. "Usually we see about 60 or 70."

The only way to get to the Exxon and other nearby businesses is to cut through a church parking lot, since part of Pascagoula street was closed, too.

But MDOT says the road closing today wasn't their original plan.

"We're under a deadline," Kelly Castleberry of MDOT said. "We're trying to make a Monday deadline to open the road. That's the reason why we didn't get finished yesterday due to the rain in the morning, so we had to prolong it until today."

While MDOT says these closings are only temporary, employees at Exxon say it's hurting their business.

"It's dropped our business tremendously in the last week or least a few hundred dollars a day," Biggs said.

And the few customers are not the usual because of the blocked roads.

"Pretty much we're only selling to the road crew because not to many people are being able to get in here," said Biggs. "So it's just been the road crew coming in here getting Gatorade."

MDOT said this short-term loss for businesses will equal a long term gain for drivers. That's because the new bridge will not have to be raised for boats, causing a smoother traffic flow.