What's it like to stand on the highest tip of the Mackinac Bridge? | Michigan Radio

What's it like to stand on the highest tip of the Mackinac Bridge?

Mar 11, 2015

The Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere, and the fifth-longest suspension bridge in the world. While crossing the Mackinac Bridge in itself is breathtaking, sometimes it’s hard not to wonder what it’s like way up there on top of the bridge's highest cables.

Richard Demara knows what it's like to look out from the highest point on the Mackinac Bridge, 552 feet above ground.

Richard DeMara knows what it's like. He helped build the Big Mac bridge. His job as an iron worker included spinning cables, which total 41,000 miles in length, dispersed in bundles across the bridge.

Part of his job also meant stationing himself at the highest point of the bridge, a point that reaches 552 feet into the air. Demara said that while the wind was "terrible," walking along the ten-foot-wide catwalks was “exhilarating.”

“You could see for, well, infinity just about either way,” he said. “You could see to the horizon. You could either look one way and be looking all the way up Lake Michigan, and look the other way you’re looking up Lake Huron.”

Yet, the job was a dangerous one. Five people were killed at one point, Demara remembers. While catwalks were being placed on the top of the bridge, a rope broke and caused the catastrophe. 

But Demara continued working through the potential danger.

“I’m proud to say I worked on the biggest job that ever hit the state of Michigan, and that was the Mackinac Bridge.