Businesses Anticipating Opening Of Biloxi Bay Bridge

Torn up roads, orange fencing, and closed signs block the view of Melanie Bosarge's motel.

"In the last five to six weeks, my business has dropped off to almost nothing because of the road construction," said Melanie Bosarge.

Bosarge owns Indian Head Station in Ocean Springs.  It's near the new Biloxi Bay Bridge. She says it's been a struggle, since Katrina wiped out the old span. Bosarge is trying to spruce up her property, eagerly anticipating November 1st.

"Oh yes, I'm very excited," Bosarge said. "I need some business. I think my business will skyrocket as soon as the bridge opens."

Business has also been slow at Sonic.

"We went from being a really booming, busy all day long, all night long store, to just really being down here by ourselves," said Breakfast Manager Loren Williams. "We still have our regulars, but we're just drawing no traffic right here."

The manager expects heavier traffic when the bridge opens in a few weeks. The restaurant just underwent a major renovation, and is now trying to hire more workers to handle the rush.

"If we can get everybody in here and trained, it won't be chaos that first day that bridge opens," Williams said. "Because I imagine we're going to have a lot of business that day I would think."

When the bridge opens in November, it will impact more than just the businesses at the foot of the bridge. The mayor says she expects at least a 15 percent increase in sales for businesses throughout the city.

"We're real excited for things to get back the way it used to be," Williams said. "Get this store back to the level that it was."

Events on tap for the bridge opening include fireworks, a Hurricane Hunters fly-over, and a ribbon-tying ceremony. MDOT says the rest of the six-lane bridge should be finished by April 16th.