The Mackinac Bridge or “Mighty Mac” had been a dream since the 1880s to replace the ferry system that spanned the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Here are five interesting facts that you may not have known about the “Gateway to the North.”
The toll was originally $3.25 when the bridge opened in 1957 and it’s only gone up to $4.00 per vehicle today in 2019. If you take the original $3.25 and adjust for inflation over the years the bridge toll would be over $30.00 per vehicle.
The Mackinac Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it opened, but today the bridge is 5th according to the Mackinac Bridge Authority, at 26,372 feet. The Mighty Mack is the longest suspension bridge, by total length, in the western hemisphere. The total suspension section is 8,614 feet.
That’s five miles of bridge and a long way if the bridge makes you uncomfortable. You don’t HAVE to drive the bridge though; the Bridge Authority will drive you and your vehicle across at no charge. It’s as simple as letting the tollbooth operator know or using the phone on the south end of the bridge to call for the “Driver Assistance Program.”
In the winter the Mackinac Bridge Authority uses sand to protect drivers from the snow and ice conditions. They avoid using salt for two reasons: the salt will corrode the bridge and the salt will get in the Great Lakes. They’re working hard to KEEP the Lakes unsalted, shark-free, ALWAYS FRESH, and sometimes frozen.
So the real question on people’s minds is how do you pronounce Mackinac… Mackina”C” or Mackina”W”? No matter how it’s spelled, it’s pounced Mackina”W”. The French that came to the area spelled the name with a “C” and the British that came to the area spelled it with a “W”. Fun Fact: the unofficial rule is the bridge and above is spelled Mackinac anything below the bridge is spelled Mackinaw.
These are just a few facts about the Mighty Mac that you may, or may not, have known. To learn more visit the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Mackinac Bridge Authority web page here. Pictures don’t do this beautiful bridge justice, make sure to experience the Mighty Mac for yourself!
Thank you to Scott Shields Photo for allowing us to share the featured image.