SAINT IGNACE, Mich. — The Mackinac Bridge remains closed to all traffic because of ice falling from the bridge’s cables and towers.
While closing the bridge at any time creates an inconvenience, these falling chunks create an unacceptable danger to traffic crossing the 5-mile span between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
The bridge closed at 11 a.m. Thursday.
It is not known how long this closure will last. For updates, check the bridge’s Twitter page and the Mackinac Bridge Authority website. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) posts information on closures on Twitter and Facebook, as well as on freeway dynamic message signs.
Mackinac County 911, using its RAVE Alert System, will send updates and information from the MBA to users’ cell phones any time the bridge has a partial or full closure due to weather or other conditions. Messages also will be sent when a full closure is reduced to a partial closure or when the bridge reopens to all traffic. To sign up, text “MacBridge” to 67283.
Each winter, ice forms on the cables and towers of the Mackinac Bridge, usually from freezing rain. When winds increase or temperatures rise, that ice can dislodge suddenly, sending sheets or spears of ice cascading down to the bridge deck below. Ice can drop more than 300 feet before hitting the bridge deck and the pieces are sometimes large enough to damage vehicles or cause injuries.
The bridge has closed at least 21 times total according to MBA records. Over the last few years, freezing rain and mid-winter warm-ups have been more frequent, and the bridge has seen had more closures for falling ice. Bridge officials cannot reliably predict when the ice will form, or how long these closures will last.
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