The 2017 Mackinac Bridge Walk was anxiously
awaited. The 60th anniversary of the opening of the bridge takes place
later this year and this is the 60th year of the Bridge Walk.
At the request of the Michigan State Police and Homeland
Security, in May the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) announced that the
bridge would be closed to all vehicles but official vehicles and official
shuttle buses during the walk. Since that closure would disrupt Labor Day
traffic, the Mackinac Bridge Walk would be shortened to 7AM - Noon, several
hours shorter than in past years. A major campaign was mounted to ensure
that motorists across the State of Michigan would know about the closing
and have an opportunity to adjust their schedules.
At the same time, plans were made to try to accommodate
as many walkers as possible in the shorter period. The number of shuttle
buses was increased from 88 in 2016 to 127 in 2017.
Shuttle buses started hauling walkers from Mackinaw City
to the north end of the bridge around 4AM on Labor Day morning, to be in
place for the start of the walk at 7AM. We got in line about a block from
Conkling Heritage Park 6:25AM.
The line was 4 or 5 people across and it was joined at
the Park by another line coming from the south. The park itself had lines
that snaked back in forth. The bus fare was $5. There were six boarding
lines so that six buses could be simultaneously loaded. We got into the
6th line, which turned out to be the longest and to not be served by as
many buses as the first 3 or 4.
Our bus departed at 7:50AM and we were at the north end
of the Mighty Mac about 8:20AM