Celebrating 65 Years of Michigan’s Mighty Mackinac Bridge
Michigan is home to more coastline than any other state in the United States. That's not the only impressive stat we have... How about the world's 27th longest main span bridge, too. At five miles in total roadway between St. Ignace, MI and Mackinac City, MI over the Straits of Mackinac, the bridge is iconic as "The Mighty Mack" or "Big Mac" (not in reference to a certain, popular food).
November 1, 1957, marks the opening of the bridge to traffic, for the first time. A Bridge Authority was created in June of 1950 -- that's a LOT of planning (as it should be, you don't want it to collapse while driving or walking across, right?) Construction began May 7th, 1954. So, once they got started, it didn't take too long.
Random Facts About the Mackinac Bridge:
- Height of main towers above watter = 552 feet
- Water is 295 feet deep at mid-span
- 155 feet of clearance for ships under the mid-span section
- Total length of wire in main cables (is unbelievable) 42,000 miles
- Maximum tension in each cable is up to 16,000 tons (36,000lbs)
- Over 1,000,000 bolts and 4,851,700 steel rivets
- Lots more nerdy stats from the Mackinac Bridge Authority, here.
Over 11,000 people worked between construction, shops, engineers, etc. Five men lost their lives during construction. One from diving and four from accidents at varying heights. One other man died while painting the bridge in 1997.
According to Mackinac Bridge Authority, there was inspiration and hope from the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, in 1883, that one day there would be a structure connecting the "mitten" to the "rabbit." The rest...is history.
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