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HomePlaces to TravelMackinac Bridge : The Longest Suspension Bridge in The Western Hemisphere

Mackinac Bridge : The Longest Suspension Bridge in The Western Hemisphere

The Mackinac Bridge in Michigan

The Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere. It was constructed to connect the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the Lower Peninsula. In its history, the bridge has seen some famous visitors cross it.

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Mackinac Bridge
IMAGE CREDIT : Flickr

Construction of the bridge

Construction of the Mackinac Bridge began in 1954, when contractors started mobilizing equipment. The first step was to sink large double-walled cylinders (caissons) into bedrock on the lake floor. These cylinders were used to form the bases of the two massive towers that would hold the deck of the bridge.

As the caissons sank, the foundation was prepared by pouring concrete into the voids. This was done using a technique known as prepakt. It facilitated the placement of 4800 cubic meters of concrete in just 24 hours.

This technique is considered to be the world’s first successful underwater concrete placement. However, it was not the only technique used. In fact, the Mackinac Bridge project involved the construction of the deepest cofferdams in the world.

Steinman’s work on the project paved the way for the development of a number of innovations that still stand as standards for bridge construction today. One of these is a deep stiffening truss that is open in order to reduce wind resistance.

First private car to cross the bridge

There’s no doubt that Mackinac Bridge, also known as Mighty Mac or Big Mac, is one of the most iconic landmarks in Michigan. In fact, it’s also one of the longest suspension bridges in the world.

The bridge opened to traffic in 1957, and it is a part of Interstate 75, which connects the upper and lower peninsulas of the state. Its length is five miles, with a main span of 3,800 feet.

Its toll is $4 per vehicle. Those driving larger vehicles must pay an extra fee. Typically, it takes about five minutes to cross the Mackinac Bridge.

Some people drive across the bridge daily. Others visit the island and then return by road.

During July 2017, there were 609,916 vehicles crossing the bridge. This makes it the busiest month of the year.

Design influenced by lessons from the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge

The 1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington, US, was the third-longest suspension bridge in the world. It spanned the Tacoma Narrows strait, connecting Tacoma to the Washington and Kitsap Peninsulas.

This 2.4 mile long suspension bridge had an astonishingly low damping ratio. In addition, the deck was extremely shallow. Also, the bridge’s side spans were too long. Despite this, it was built and completed in 19 months.

After the initial collapse, the bridge was opened for four months. Although it was popular for its limited lifespan, it lacked the structural stiffness to stand up to a major windstorm.

It also exhibited massive vertical motions, especially during moderate to low-speed winds. These movements led to the failure of the structure.

Aside from its unintended consequences, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge also sparked new research in bridge aerodynamics. According to researchers, the bridge’s design did not take into account the dynamic effects of the wind on the structure.

Longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere

Mackinac Bridge is considered to be one of the world’s longest suspension bridges. It crosses the Straits of Mackinac between the villages of Mackinaw City and Saint Ignace. The length of the main span is 3,800 feet. This makes it the third longest in North America, and twenty-fourth in the world.

It was built in 1957. During construction, the weather conditions were harsh. However, the structure was completed on time. Besides being a major landmark in Michigan, it is also a part of the Great Lakes Circle Tour.

The bridge consists of two towers. Each tower is about 550 feet tall, and extends over the water for over 210 feet. They are connected by large cables. The deck is also made of a continuous girder. When the weight of vehicles is applied, the deck will move back to its center position.

Famous people who have crossed the bridge

The Mackinac Bridge, or “Mighty Mac,” is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. It connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. A ferry used to carry passengers and cargo between the two sides, but in 1957 the Mackinac Bridge opened to automobile traffic.

In addition to being a transportation hub, the bridge is also a spectacular structure. It is 5 miles long and rises over 7,400 feet.

Construction of the bridge was a difficult undertaking, and the Mackinac Bridge is now considered one of the world’s most beautiful structures. Thousands of people have crossed the bridge over the years.

For many, the Mackinac Bridge is an integral part of their Michigan vacation. During the summer, it is the primary route for travelers to and from Mackinaw City. On Labor Day, the bridge is open to walkers.

FAQs : Mackinac Bridge

Why is the Mackinac Bridge so famous?

The Mackinac Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in the United States and is often referred to as the “Mighty Mac.” It is the fifth-longest suspension bridge in the world and spans the Straits of Mackinac between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan

How long does it take to cross the Mackinac Bridge?

The Mackinac Bridge is an iconic suspension bridge connecting Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. It spans five miles across the Straits of Mackinac and is the third-longest suspension bridge in the world

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