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62 years ago, the Mighty Mac opened to traffic...

62 years ago, the Mighty Mac opened to traffic...

62 years ago, the Mighty Mac opened to traffic...

(OP)
First vehicles crossed the 'Mighty Mac' 62 years ago

https://www.wnem.com/news/first-vehicles-crossed-t...

I can remember when it was being built. My mother and I had birthdays in the same week in August. We lived in the northern part of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, and sometime during that week, we would always take a long day-trip up to places like Sault Ste. Marie or Tahquamenon Falls. We had to leave early in the morning because we had to take a ferry to cross the Straits of Mackinaw. And of course we had to make sure that we got back in time, before the last ferry returned back to Mackinaw City. Over the years we watched the progress as the bridge was being constructed, and then one year, we didn't have to take the ferry as the bridge was finally open. I can't remember how much the ferry cost, but I know my dad complained about the toll, which was something like $6.50 when the bridge first opened. I guess he figured that whatever he paid for the ferry, the ride was part of the adventure, but driving across a bridge, that was just a highway which his tax dollars was supposed to have paid for. Today, the toll is $4.00 for a passenger automobile. Note that I've driven a motorcycle over the Mackinaw Bridge on four occasions, that last time was in April, 1967, and I nearly froze to death, literally (when you hear that someone 'suffered from exposure', don't think that that's some minor thing. It's NOT, and it's something I hope I never experience again).

One other recollection. I mentioned that we used to go up to Sault Ste. Marie which is where the Soo Locks are, which allows ships to pass between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. The Saute St. Marie River also forms the border between Michigan and Canada. I can remember the first time we visited there on one of these birthday trips. It must have been around 1956 when I was nine years old. It was during the 'Cold War' and it was the first time that I saw armed guards with machine guns. At that time the locks were considered a critical part of nations infrastructure and as such was under protection by the military. You could only get as close as the street as there was an iron fence around the locks area and there were guard towers with the aforementioned soldiers with machine guns. And there were guards patrolling the sidewalk along the fence and if they caught someone with a camera, they would take it and rip out the film (they gave the camera back, just with no film). The next year we were there, the guards were gone and while the fence was still there, the gates were open and you could walk right up to where the ships were moving through the locks, and you could take all the pictures that you wanted.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: 62 years ago, the Mighty Mac opened to traffic...

The Mighty Mac is an impressive feat of engineering, and even more so when you consider that it was designed when structural design software was in its infancy compared to all the fancy programs we have today.

One Labor Day I hope to participate in the walk across that's held every year to really take in all of the details and craftsmanship that you don't get to see when you drive across it.

On a similar note, I just completed my first Detroit Free Press half marathon that goes across the Ambassador Bridge to Canada. Stopped on the bridge for a couple of selfies and really enjoyed seeing that bridge up close. Not sure it was worth having to run 13.1 miles to see it, but still enjoyable.

RE: 62 years ago, the Mighty Mac opened to traffic...

Been over it, under it, and on it. Waaaaay bigger than Golden Gate.

Drove over in July. Much more intimidating than Golden Gate. Only 2 lanes and much higher, more wind and enough distance from shore to make one feel truly detached from land.

batHonesty may be the best policy, but insanity is a better defense.bat
http://www.EsoxRepublic.com-SolidWorks API VB programming help

RE: 62 years ago, the Mighty Mac opened to traffic...

(OP)
If you want to feel how big it really is, try it on a motorcycle some time winky smile

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: 62 years ago, the Mighty Mac opened to traffic...

(OP)
And here's the first car to cross the Mackinaw Bridge in 1957, a 1951 Chevrolet Deluxe Station Wagon. The car was driven by one Al Carter, a big-band drummer from Chicago, who drove the car over 300,000 miles around the country managing to accomplish many firsts. In addition to being the first motorist to cross the Mackinaw Bridge, Al also managed, with this car, to be the first person to drive on the Kennedy, Eisenhower, Stevenson and Dan Ryan expressways in Chicago, as well as the first person to make a round-trip from Chicago to Detroit and back on the I-94 freeway. The car is now on display at the Van Andel Museum, in Grand Rapids, MI.


August 2017 (Sony a6000)

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: 62 years ago, the Mighty Mac opened to traffic...

Re bridges ... I did this one while on vacation a couple of weeks ago: www.bridgeclimb.com

RE: 62 years ago, the Mighty Mac opened to traffic...

(OP)
Yes, on one of my many visits to Sydney I was told about this opportunity. After thanking the person who mentioned it, I gracefully declined.

I suffer from a bit of acrophobia (when riding in glass elevators I always face the door). While it's true that, as I mentioned in the first post in this thread, I've driven across the 'Big Mac' on a motorcycle four times, I drove very carefully and never looked down. Note that I have no problem flying, it's just that I can't stand where there's little or nothing between me and the 'edge' of whatever I'm standing near, or it looks like there's nothing there, like in those glass elevators. I know it's irrational, but the fear is there, nagging me until I turn and walk away to a 'safer' distance.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: 62 years ago, the Mighty Mac opened to traffic...

I've ridden across the Mac Bridge on various motorcycles. I'd say at least half the time, I was riding on the grating for a full mile. That is kind of hairy. Worse in the rain, especially when you cross the smooth steel expansion plates.

RE: 62 years ago, the Mighty Mac opened to traffic...

Evidently the middle of November must be some form of calling for me to participate in Internet forums.
(I'm a lousy social media participant ; )

I was following this thread earlier... had some additional photos to share and could not find them until now.

I'd be in the same category as John with his respect for heights.
Looking at these guys in real time is/was dizzy enough for me.



During the annual bridge walk the entire bridge is now closed instead of keeping two vehicle lanes open as in the past.

Photo taken during the 2016 Bridge Walk.



Perhaps the most striking element of the bridge for me, is its location.
Most massive bridges the size of the Mackinac Bridge are surrounded by dense population centers like New York or San Francisco.
The Mighty Mac is pretty much, out there... in the country side.



Those making a first time visit to the bridge traveling up I-75 are treated to a "Rocky Mountain" moment
after seeing nothing but Michigan's greenery, forests and rolling landscapes along the way.
There's a spot on the freeway where one rounds a hill and curve still miles away from the massive structure... and "...there it is".

Wow.... that thing is big. And we're not even there yet!

It remains in immaculate shape with hardly any rust among the layers of Sherwin-Williams paint drips.



Come on up and enjoy it sometime if you can.

John

RE: 62 years ago, the Mighty Mac opened to traffic...

(OP)
My mother used to do the annual bridge walk well into her late 60's/early 70's. I've never done it (you know, the heights thing). More along my speed, or I should say height, is the annual 'Lovells Bridge Walk', which is held the same weekend, only about 80 miles south of Mackinaw:


October 2018 (Sony a6000)

And yes, you're seeing the entire length of the bridge, from one set of striped signs to the other. Note that just around that bend is a bar, so they actually walk the entire length of the bridge TWICE, once in each direction, and all on the same day.

And for the record, NO, I've never done this walk either winky smile

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: 62 years ago, the Mighty Mac opened to traffic...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efFgmgJOhjY

This is a picture of the Portugal in years 65 when I was 15, One can see the brídege over river Tagus which is twin of Golden Gate in S. Francisco and was built built by the same American company. Today Portugal besides, the same symbols is much more different.

luis

RE: 62 years ago, the Mighty Mac opened to traffic...

I used to work with a guy, he and his brother work as utility hands during construction.
They were on the bridge the day that two MI NatGaurd fighters flew under the yet-to-be-finished bridge deck.
The next day they were on a crew that was was hanging cables from the deck. Supposedly to improve stability.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy

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