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It’s huge, it moves, and it connects us all: The Mackinac Bridge celebrates 60 years today

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Courtesy of the Dick Tyler Collection in the Michigan History Center Archives
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The Mackinac Bridge while under construction in the mid 1950s.

Happy 60th birthday to an iconic Michigan landmark: the Mighty Mac!

State archivist Mark Harvey joined Stateside to fun facts about the Mackinac Bridge in honor of its birthday.

1. It’s huge

At five miles long, and with approximately 42,000 miles of cable, Harvey said, “It’s still the largest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere, and the third largest in the world.”

The bridge also sees about 3 million drivers cross it ever year, and the count is approaching 150 million total crossings.

2. It moves

“The bridge is designed to be constantly in motion,” Harvey said. It even gets up to 35 feet of lateral movement.

The thousands of walkers that turn up on Labor Day to cross the bridge can experience this motion firsthand.

3. It’s always under construction

“Even though it opened Nov. 1, 1957, they’ve never officially said construction is ended," Harvey said. "It moved right into maintenance, and the bridge is continually under maintenance."

That doesn’t mean it’s not safe.

“It’s an engineering marvel,” Harvey said, and he called it “extremely safe.”

When wind conditions are rough or drivers get nervous, services are also offered to help people cross. For example, there are trucks that help break the wind for drivers.

Listen above for the full conversation in celebration of the Mackinac Bridge's 60th birthday. 

This segment is produced in partnership with the Michigan History Center.

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