Lorraine Road bridge could reopen by week's end

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Big news for folks who use the Lorraine Road Bridge: It could be opening as soon as Friday. The bridge has been closed for almost four months, and for people like Millie Mason, who owns Daffy's Bar in Biloxi, the news is long awaited.

"Every day when I walk in I'm saying, 'Did you hear anything on the bridge?' Instead of coming in and saying, 'Hi guys! I'm so happy y'all are here,' I say, 'Did anybody hear anything on the bridge today?'" said Mason.

Her bar sits right at the foot of the Lorraine Road Bridge. Since the bridge closed in late July, Mason said it's been like a ghost town.

"I had to cancel my Sunday afternoon entertainment and I've just been going in the hole recently. I was feeling very depressed about it," said Mason.

Mason said Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes personally delivered the news to her. She told him how thrilled she was.

Gulfport's Chief Engineer, Kris Riemann, said the report done by Volkert Engineering indicates the bridge needs a few immediate repairs and then it can be reopened.

"It also indicated that the railings of the bridge needed to be repaired, and once those railings are repaired, the bridge could be reopened for traffic," said Riemann.

Gulfport Councilman R. Lee Flowers feels relieved that residents in his district will no longer have to take an alternate route, but reminds them the work is just beginning.

"It's very important that the people realize, while we are going to reopen it, it is still a temporary solution and the long term solution is to replace this bridge," said Flowers.

At this time, there is still no start date on construction of the new bridge. When the bridge reopens, it will have no weight limit, meaning school buses and trucks are free to travel the bridge.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.