Businesses Eager For Popp's Ferry Bridge To Reopen

"Why don't you open just a little bit? That's good," said Dr. Dean Wakham to a young patient.

The Biloxi orthodontist built his new office more than a year ago at what he figured was the perfect location -- right off the Popp's Ferry Bridge. That changed when Hurricane Katrina shut down the bridge, cutting off easy access for his patients.

"Some patients were complaining it took them two hours to get here and they might be scheduled for 8:00 and they might show up at 10:00. It was tough," said Dr. Wakham.

It's been especially tough for patients and employees who live in Jackson County, who are fed-up with having to find alternate routes.

"We're just ready to have more access to the office," said Dr. Wakham.

The staff at Sweet Stuff Bakery on the north side of the bridge certainly feel the same frustration. Owner, Mary Vuyovich, says deliveries are slower and she's lost about 20 percent of her business since the bridge has been out.

"I would say it has been quite a loss. Just a lot of inconvenience. People are having to go miles and miles out of their way," said Mary Vuyovich.

Those frustrating days will soon be over. Crews are still doing some final painting, electrical work, and cleaning on the bridge. Both the contractor and the city say the bridge will reopen as planned Friday morning.

"Oh, we have been waiting for so long. We're so excited to get our bridge back," said Vuyovich.

Dr. Wakham laughed and said, "We're all excited. We're going to have a party to celebrate the bridge opening."

The City of Biloxi will celebrate the reopening of the Popp's Ferry Bridge with a ribbon cutting Friday morning at 10, on the south side. Only vehicles are allowed across the bridge, not pedestrians.