More Changes for the Mackinac Bridge Walk on Labor Day
We've all driven over it numerous times, but not many have actually walked across the Mackinac Bridge, which connects the Lower Peninsular to the Upper Peninsula. There is only one day a year where pedestrians are allowed on the bridge and that is Labor Day. Over the last couple of years, the organizers have been tweaking just how the walk is done. This year we have more changes...
Originally, those walking the bridge would share the southbound lanes for their journey on foot from St. Ignace to Mackinaw City. Then, in 2017, the Mackinac Bridge Authority closed traffic completely during the bridge walk. They used the northbound lanes for buses, which would transport walkers to St. Ignace for the start of the walk. Those crossing the bridge on foot would end their walk at Mackinaw City. The Mackinac Bridge will be closed to traffic again this year, from 6:30 am until Noon, however there will be no buses.
This year there will be three options for the walkers...
Option 1: Walkers can start from either end of the bridge and walk to the center. Then they will turn around at the midpoint of the bridge and return to the city they started from. Also new this year, walkers can start from either end of the bridge -- St. Ignace and Mackinaw City. (The turnaround points will move closer to the ends of the bridge beginning at 10 a.m., but walkers can walk at least a portion of the bridge provided they start by 11:30 a.m.)
Option 2: Walk the entire bridge! Walkers will have to start early enough to reach the center by 10 am. If you do walk the entire bridge, it will be your responsibility to arrange transportation back to your starting point. There will be no buses. The bridge will reopen to public traffic at noon.
Option 3: Walk the entire bridge twice! Participants will walk the entire bridge from either end and then turn around and walk back to the side they started from. The round-trip option requires walkers to cross the midpoint on their return trip by 10 a.m.
The Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk is a tradition in Michigan, dating back to the first walk on Labor Day 1958. Between 25,000 and 60,000 people from several states and countries attend the annual event.
I have walked the bridge five or six times now. It definitely is something you should do at least once. There are many who have walked the bridge year after year. You will see them walking with patches on their jackets commemorating all the years that they have crossed the "Mighty Mac" on foot.
Maybe I'll see you there!