Dawnice Moll, right, her husband, Wesley, (not pictured) and their daughters, Sabrina (center) and Rebecca, live in Trimble County but work, go to school and attend church in Madison. To avoid the long detour, the Molls stayed with friends while the bridge was closed. Now, they get to go home. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Dawnice Moll, right, her husband, Wesley, (not pictured) and their daughters, Sabrina (center) and Rebecca, live in Trimble County but work, go to school and attend church in Madison. To avoid the long detour, the Molls stayed with friends while the bridge was closed. Now, they get to go home. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
The Moll family awaited the highly anticipated Madison-Milton bridge reopening for days - 37, to be exact ­- like many other area residents on both sides of the river.

Yet, the reopening means more than gas savings for the family. It means Dawnice, Wesley and their daughters, Rebecca and Sabrina, can use the connection to get back to their Trimble County home at night and resume the normalcy of their everyday lives.

The family of four had been staying at a hotel and in homes of their Madison church family during the weeks-long bridge closure, only making the 80-minute detoured drive home on the weekends.

The family's home is just eight miles from the bridge on the Kentucky side of the river, but much of their usual activities - their jobs, church, social events and college classes at Ivy Tech - are on the Indiana side of the Ohio River.

"Life is on this side of the bridge," Dawnice said.

The Molls expected to follow the detour through the Markland Locks and Dam Bridge when the bridge first closed when a steel bridge bearing dislodged. Like others, they hoped the closure would be short.

After just a few days, the family began to see how much they - like so many others - depended on the bridge daily. Usually the daily commute took about 20 minutes, she said, but the detour added more than an hour each way with good traffic.

Wesley found out during the second week of the closure that he would need to be on-call and working extended hours with a special project at his job at the Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corporation.

And, Rebecca and Sabrina had gotten jobs less than a week before the emergency closure on March 11.

Both girls had discussed the looming bridge closure when they were hired. Their employers agreed the girls wouldn't be expected to work during the one-week closure, but neither the teenagers nor their employers had planned for a nearly six-week closure.

The family moved into a hotel in Madison so the family could go on with their lives.

During the third week of the closure, a fellow church member at Calvary Baptist Church asked the family to house-sit and stay with pets while the church member went out of town.

The Molls agreed.

Other church members began offering the family a place to stay in the weeks that followed. In all, they've stayed with three different families during the closure.

Each weekend, the Molls returned home to do laundry, check on their home and make plans for the next week away from home.

"We've gotten really good at packing," Rebecca said.

They had to pack up all of the supplies they would need for their classes throughout the week, Sabrina said, which was different than just packing a bag for a day of classes.

Although the closure was trying at times, Dawnice called the last six weeks a "learning experience." The family should have no problems packing for their next vacation, she said, and they realize just how much they rely on the bridge connection between the two states.

They also witnessed just how giving and caring people can be.

"God really blessed us with a great church family," Dawnice said, adding the family hopes to one day "pay it forward" for all the kindness they've received over the last six weeks.

But for now, the family just wants to resume the routine of their normal lives.

"We're anxious to go home," she said.