Businesses, patrons and drivers are glad bridges reopened

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The Fort Bayou Bridge is heavily traveled. Ocean Springs residents take the bridge to get to Interstate 10 and those living in St. Martin drive the bridge to get to Ocean Springs.

For two days this week, ice covered the bridge and MDOT officials were forced to close it to traffic, creating an inconvenience for drivers and businesses at the foot of the bridge.

"We really didn't have any way for customers to get here because when they shut down Washington Avenue, they shut it down on Highway 90," General Manager of Aunt Jenny's Catfish Ronnie Hamilton said.

Hamilton talked to police about moving the barriers so customers could get in and out, but by that time, he said, the weather was too bad.

"It really wasn't worth risking someone having an accident on the road. We made the decision to close down," Hamilton said.

Across the street, Gil's Fish Camp opened for four hours on Tuesday without a single customer.

Bartender Laci Barnes said, "It has definitely affected us the past few days; there's been a tremendous change in business."

Since the Fort Bayou Bridge was closed, as was the Biloxi/Ocean Springs bridge, those wanting to go west from Ocean Springs actually had to drive about seven miles to Highway 57 to access I-10.

"I work at the hospital, so I had to take I-10 to 57 and go across a couple of bridges and it took over an hour and a half to get there," one customer at Aunt Jenny's Catfish Restaurant said.

Those who did not brave the icy roads couldn't wait to get back to their normal routines.

"Oh, I had cabin fever darlin," Kenneth Lawler said. "All the guys meet in the afternoon to discuss business of the day and such, and with it being closed it's been kind of like I missed my family."

Now that the ice has melted and the bridge is back open, it's back to normal for businesses, patrons and drivers.

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