Mackinac Bridge celebrates 60th anniversary

Mackinac Bridge celebrates 60th anniversary
Posted at 8:51 AM, Nov 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-01 09:32:45-04

The Mackinac Bridge is turning 60 years old on Wednesday, as it opened to traffic on Nov. 1, 1957.

Currently the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world, the "Mighty Mac" is the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere. It comes in at 12,826 feet, which is nearly 2.5 miles.

The first idea for a bridge, according to the Mackinac Bridge Authority, came from the Lansing Republican newspaper on Feb. 5, 1884, where they discussed how an all-year service across the Straits of Mackinac by boat had failed.

It wasn't until the 1920s that then Gov. Fred Green ordered the state highway department ot study bridge feasibility across the Straits. The study found it would cost around $30 million at the time, but the project was eventually dropped, according to the bridge authority.

After multiple attempts to get funding for a bridge, the Mackinac Bridge Authority was finally appointed in June 1950 with construction beginning on May 7, 1954.

The entire length of the bridge is five miles, with the width of the roadway being 54 feet. The height of the main towers, above water, is 552 feet.

There are 42,000 miles worth of wire in the main cables and the maximum tension of each cable is 16,000 tons. It weights 1,024,500 tons, which equals more than 2 billion pounds.

For more information on the bridge, visit the Mackinac Bridge Authority's website