the Mighty Mac also unites the communities of Mackinaw City
and St. Ignace, Michigan. During the early years, the passenger
car fare of $7.50 round trip was a day's wages and casual travel was minimal.
The lower fares of the last 25 years was low enough that the communities
very slowly grew more united. Today, the fare has crept back up to $7 round
trip, but there is a discount for commuters.
|The Mackinac Bridge is the one of the world's
most beautiful bridges and the longest suspension bridge in the Americas,
with a total length of 8,614 feet suspended. It is currently the third
longest suspension bridge in the world
Much of the beauty comes from the setting at the Straits
of Mackinac. The Straits link Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The 5 mile
long Mackinac Bridge (Big Mac) links Michigan's Lower and Upper peninsulas.
Ground was broken to build the Mackinac Bridge on May
7, 1954 and the bridge opened to the public (and the ferries were shut
down) on November 1, 1957.
At the north end of the Bridge is Bridge View Park and
the nearby Father Marquette Memorial. The Memorial is open only briefly
during the summer.
At the south end is Fort
Michilimackinac State Historic Park. The park entrance is actually
underneath the Bridge. Each Memorial Day Weekend, the residents of Mackinaw
City reenact the history of the 18th Century British French and Native
American community. The Fort is open from early May until early October.
Since 2004, the Old Mackinaw Point
Lighthouse has been opened to the public.
Colonial Fort Michilimackinac - costumed
interpreters perform crafts and fire muskets and
cannons while archeologists work on the North America's longest running
Building the Bridge
50th Anniversary of opening the bridge
50th Anniversary of groundbreaking
The main bridge cables are made from 42,000 Miles of wire
weighting 11,840 Tons.
The towers reach 554 feet above the water surface and
210 feet beneath the surface to bedrock.
To accommodate temperature changes, high winds and changes
of weight on the Mackinac Bridge,. The deck can move right or left as much
as 35 feet at the center span. Normal movement is much less, and not obvious
to vehicles crossing the bridge. 31 expansion joints allow movement at
the length os segments change with the temperature.
On Labor Day morning, two of the lanes are closed to traffic
and 50-80,000 people, led by the Governor of Michigan, walk over the bridge.
Normally bicycles are not allowed to ride across but the Big
Mac Shoreline tour held in June and September includes a trip over
Thid was the most that the fog ever lifted on this early April 2011
copyright 1997-2011 by Keith
Stokes. These photos may not be reproduced without