Mackinac Bridge Stripped: 60 Years On

Michigan suspension bridge to be stripped for the first time since its construction 60 years ago

Soon to be stripped and repainted: Mackinac Bridge. Image by Haveseen (via Shutterstock).

Soon to be stripped and repainted: the Mackinac suspension bridge. Image by Haveseen (via Shutterstock).

After 60 years, a section of a famous Michigan state suspension bridge will be stripped and repainted for the first time ever. This is the North Tower of the Mackinac Bridge, which spans The Straits of Mackinac. The bridge is five miles long and the world’s fifth longest suspension bridge.

Construction began in May 1953 with the completed bridge opening for traffic on the 01 November 1957. The bridge has been coated with lead-based paint which has served the bridge well. In its place, once stripped, Mackinac Bridge’s North Tower will be coated with zinc-based paint. The coating will last for 35 years with periodic maintenance.

Mackinac Bridge’s upkeep is financed by tolls. Tolls range from $2.00 per axle to $5.00 for commercial vehicles, or $4.00 per car: at present exchange rates, £1.60 to £4.00 (or £3.20 for cars). Foot passengers may use a special bus service, costing $3.50 (£2.80) to cross the bridge. Maintained by the Mackinac Bridge Authority, it has hired contractors for continuous maintenance works. Since the late 1970s, these services moved in-house.

The contract was won by Seaway Painting. They specialise in painting, sand blasting, and lead abatement projects. Formed in 1964, their HQ is in Livonia, in the south eastern part of Michigan State. On the Michigan Live website, Mackinac Bridge Authority chief Bob Sweeney said:

“Fans of the bridge should be relieved to know that when this project is done, the tower will still be the same classic ivory that everyone recognizes.

“Apart from brightening the appearance of the bridge, a quality painting project goes a long way toward ensuring the bridge is protected from the elements.”

The bridge’s North Tower will be repainted in its famous green and ivory colours. Work started on its stripping and repainting last week. Its expected completion date will be the 31 December 2018. In 2019, the South Tower could be stripped with bids being announced in early 2019.

Premium Doors and Furniture, 12 April 2017.

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