Historic Birch Lodge

Historic Birch Lodge
Historic Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI

Sunday, January 2, 2011

"Mighty Mac"--The Mackinac Bridge

Print Friendly and PDF

Mackinac Bridge
Returning from a trip downstate, we crossed the Mackinac Bridge on New Years Day. It was a very gray and windy day, but even so, I thought the view was spectacular. The lakes are still open, but ice rims the beaches. Beautiful!

The "Mighty Mac" as it is known, is an engineering marvel. It is the third longest suspension bridge in the world. Only the Akashi Kaikyo bridge in Japan and the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark surpass it. Interestingly, they were both opened in 1998, and the Macinac Bridge was opened in 1957. For over forty years it was the longest suspension bridge in the world! In 2010, it was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

Mackinac Bridge

The Mackinac Bridge is five miles long overall, crossing the Straits of Mackinac (the point where Lake Michigan mingles with Lake Huron at the tip of Michigan's Lower Peninsula). It begins at Mackinac City on the south, and ends in St. Ignace on the north. The commanding towers which hold the cables are 552' high. At the center point the roadway is 200 feet above the water, which at this point is about 295' deep. Oh, and being a suspension bridge it can sway as much as 35 feet to accommodate severe winds!

Don't worry though, you will not feel it sway as you cross, and it has fantastic views of Mackinac, Round and Bois Blanc Islands to the east; and Historic Ft. Mackinac, St. Helena Island, and the "tip of the mitt" to the west. It is managed by the Mackinac Bridge Authority, and they have lots of information about the Mackinac Bridge. Also, if you are afraid to drive across, you can contact them for a driver.

The Mackinac Bridge is open to pedestrian traffic only on Labor Day, when the annual "Bridge Walk" takes place. I am setting that date aside to try to make it this year. I have been crossing the bridge since 1957 as my family were avid vacationers of the North. I even found a photo of us crossing on a ferry as the bridge was being built in 1956. (I am the smallest one.) Look closely, and you will see the cables are strung!

Ferry Crossing 1956 showing Mackinac Bridge Cables

No comments:

Post a Comment