Official Mackinaw City Chamber of Tourism

Mackinac BridgeMackinac Bridge
Mackinac Bridge
Mackinaw City, MI 49701
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.

Today the Mighty Mac also unites the communities of Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. During the early years, the fare of $7.50 round trip was a day's wages and casual travel was minimal. The lower fares of the last 20 years (currently $5 round-trip) is low enough that the communities are very slowly growing more united.

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. New in 2004, the Old Mackinaw Point Lighthouse has been opened to the public.

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 the bridge.

Tags: Landmark