Facts about the Mackinac Bridge
The Mackinac Bridge is the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world. The bridge opened on November 1, 1957. The total length of the bridge is 26,372 ft (5 miles). Total length of steel superstructure is 19,243 feet. Length of suspention bridge is 8,614 feet. The height of the towers above water is 552 feet. Height of roadway above water is 199 feet.
The total length of wire in the main cables are 42,000 miles and the numbers of wires in each cable is 12,580! That's a lot of wire! The maximum tension in each cable is 16,000 tons! The weight of the cables are 11,840 tons and the diameter of the main cables are 24 1/2 inches thick!
The total weight of the bridge is 1,024,500 tons! That's insane! There are a total of 4,851,700 steel rivets and 1,016,600 steel bolts. There were 85,000 blue prints made of the bridge and about 350 engineers. The construction took 3 1/2 years with no winter construction. It cost the lives of five workers. It cost about $100 million to build.
Every year on Labor day the bridge has its annual bridge walk, where you are able to walk across the 5 mile long bridge and take in some breath taking views! Join the 40,000 to 65,000 people who walk it! You only have one chance a year to walk on the bridge. You walk from the U.P to the L.P. To learn more about the bridge walk click below. http://www.mackinacbridge.org/events/annual-bridge-walk/
Painting of the bridge takes seven years to complete. When it is finally completed, they start painting it again. In 2009, they celebrated its 150 millionth vehicle crossing!
Remembering the lives that were lost.
Five workers died during the construction of the bridge.
Diver Frank Pepper ascended too quickly from a depth of 140 feet on September 16, 1954. Despite being rushed to a decompression chamber, the forty-six-year-old died from the bends.
Twenty-six-year-old James LeSarge lost his balance on October 10, 1954, and fell into a caisson. He fell 40 feet and likely died of head injuries caused by impact with the criss-crossing steel beams inside the caisson.
Albert Abbott died on October 25, 1954. The forty-year-old fell four feet into the water while working on an 18 inch wide beam. Witnesses speculate he suffered a heart attack.
Twenty-eight-year-old Jack Baker and Robert Koppen died in a catwalk collapse near the north tower on June 6, 1956. Koppen's body was never recovered. For both it was their first day on the job.
All five men are memorialized on a plaque near the bridge's southern end. Contrary to folklore, no bodies are embedded in the concrete.
One worker has died since the bridge was completed. Daniel Doyle fell 60 to 70 feet from scaffolding on August 7, 1997. He survived the fall but fell victim to the 50 °F water temperature. His body was recovered the next day in 95 feet of water.
Two vehicles have fallen off the bridge.
On September 22, 1989, Leslie Ann Pluhar died when her 1987 Yugo plunged over the 36-inch-high railing. A combination of high winds and excessive speed was initially blamed. Later investigation showed the driver had stopped her car over the open steel grating on the bridge's span and that a gust of wind through the grating blew her vehicle off the bridge, although this is not supported by recorded wind speed measurements taken on and around the bridge at the time of the accident.
On March 2, 1997, Richard Alan Daraban drove a 1996 Ford Bronco over the edge. It was later determined to be a suicide.
On September 10, 1978, a small private plane carrying United States Marine Corps Reserve officers Maj. Virgil Osborne, Capt. James Robbins, and Capt. Wayne W. Wisbrock smashed into one of the bridge's suspension cables while flying in a heavy fog. The impact tore the wings off the plane, which then plunged into the Straits of Mackinac. All three men were killed.
Because the bridge is not accessible to pedestrians, suicides by jumping from the bridge have been rare, with the most recent confirmed case taking place on December 31, 2012. There have been roughly a dozen suicides by people jumping off the bridge.
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