"" Writer's Wanderings: Roadtrip! Crossing The Mackinac Bridge

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Roadtrip! Crossing The Mackinac Bridge

 Needless to say, the Mackinac Bridge is impressive. The total length of the bridge is 26,372 feet. The suspension part is 8,614 feet. Now depending upon what you are measuring determines where it fits into the list of largest suspension bridges in the world. I don't care where it fits in the list, it is still amazing. 

The towers rise 554 feet above the water. The height of the 54' wide roadway is 200 feet above the water at mid-span, high enough I assume for any freighters that transit the Great Lakes. 

The bridge crosses the Straits of Mackinac which is the waterway between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. The idea of a bridge was envisioned as early as 1884. In 1920, they considered a floating tunnel. A ferry route soon grew heavy with traffic and the legislature began considering more seriously the possibility of a bridge. 

In 1934, the Mackinac Bridge Authority was established to study the feasibility of building a bridge. It took a long time to find a way to finance the bridge but finally in 1953 with bond sales it appeared the bridge would finally be built. In May of 1954, construction was begun.

The bridge opened to traffic in 1957. The last of the building bonds were retired in 1986 and the bridge is maintained with the collection of tolls--$4 for a passenger car.

There are four lanes of traffic--two in each direction. The outer lanes are solid pavement but the inner, center lanes, are a steel mesh. Trucks stay in the outer lanes and are relegated to 20 MPH. Some appeared to have escorts. 

The toll booth is at the north end so we didn't have to pay the $4 until it was time to exit the bridge. Through the toll booth, we made a right turn and headed for St. Ignace and the ferry. We were about a half hour before a scheduled departure. Perfect timing. There would not be a long wait.

I hoped there would be more chances to get a good picture of the stately Mackinac Bridge that was now behind us. To learn more about the bridge, go to the Mackinac Bridge website.

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