OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - A major thoroughfare in and out of the Ocean Springs is now closed for the next six weeks and it’s causing some concern with local businesses in the area.
The Fort Bayou Bridge will be closed for the next 45 days as crews work to repair the bridge shafts.
The interruption in the flow of traffic is concerning to businesses on both sides of the bridge.
Duncan Perkins owns Tri Hard Sports in Ocean Springs and understands he could see a dip in business due to the bridge closure.
”Short term? Absolutely,” he said. “It will have a little effect. However, we have such a great thing going on down here. I am sure everyone can find their way down. Might just be a little bit longer of a drive but it is always well worth it.”
Perkins is remaining optimistic, though, using humor to get by. And, the closure of the bridge is sparking some temporary solutions.
”I think we are going to start a bike-powered ferry to go across the bayou there while the bridge is out. A lot of people do come from Gulf Hills and that area north of the bridge, and it will be a little bit harder to get down. I actually have a good friend who commutes every single day from Gulf Hills on his bike. He is going to have a long ride in front of him. He was positive about the whole thing and just said ‘Just means I get to ride more miles’.”
Thirty 88 is a clothing boutique just a mile north of the bridge, and while the owner hasn’t heard any complains yet, she does expect them in the weeks ahead.
”We haven’t had any complaints yet. I am sure there will be some coming whenever they are having to take a different route,” said the store’s owner Sydney Harris. “Hopefully, I will get more customers from the north side of the bridge.”
The small boutique is attempting to use social media to show off their products and keep money coming in while the bridge is repaired.
”With the minor inconvenience of the bridge, we are getting new spring arrivals in daily,” said Harris. “We will post that to social media to get people to come in. They may have to take a new route, but they should still come in and check out the new spring arrivals.”
The $20 million bridge project is set to be complete by the end of April.