Walkers Roll with the Changes at the 61st Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk

The 61st annual Mackinac Bridge Walk came with some changes to the longtime tradition.

For the second year in a row the bridge was shut down to all traffic, for the first time there was no busing.

The changes came in part to improve safety and to allow more walkers to take the five-mile trek.

Although any change to a longtime tradition is going to be met with resistance, many of the walkers we spoke with say they’re pretty happy with how things turned out.

“Before we came I’m thinking, the bad guys won, they screwed the whole thing up, but its turned out pretty well, I like this, I like it a lot,” Len Johnson, said.

For the first time ever, walkers could wave to each other on opposite lanes of the bridge. A welcome by-product of changes made to keep bridge walkers safe.

“Change bothers me like it bothers most people, but I guess we’ll get by with it,” James Sheldon, said.

With less vehicles, many got a better view of the straits.

James Sheldon took his 20th walk across the Mighty Mac. He’s okay with how the bridge walk runs now, as long the tradition is here to stay.

“I’m worried this is a progression towards eliminating the bridge walk and I don’t want that, I want to still be walking another 10 to 20 years from now. I’m 67 now but if I can make it to 87, I’ll be tickled pink,” Sheldon, added.

“Overall I think it was a huge success, looked like a lot of people were having a good time out there, enjoying the beautiful scenery, very quiet, peaceful walk,” Mackinac Bridge Authority’s Bob Sweeney, said.

For the bridge authority it’s an ongoing effort to ensure the safety and fun of the six-decade tradition, for years to come.

“We’ll start right away this week, we’ll start meeting with the different people that participated in this event  and look at an areas we had trouble with and improve on those next year,” Sweeney, explained.