Incredible Engineering, Decades of Hard Work; The Mackinac Bridge Celebrates 61 Years Strong

Sixty-one years ago Thursday, the first car made its way across a brand new Mackinac Bridge.

At that time it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.

On Thursday we celebrate the 61st birthday of the incredible engineering achievement.

“It is pretty remarkable for a structure as massive as this structure is,” Barbara Brown, said.

“It never gets old, I’ve been at the bridge for over 16 years now and I still get that feeling today,” Mackinac Bridge Authority’s Bob Sweeney, said.

The Mighty Mac leaves us in awe every time we pass by.

However in the early half of the 20th century many thought its construction was not financially possible.

“The only other private revenue built bridges were in New York City with 19 million people or San Francisco with four or five million people. You had the Straits area with 5,000 people, so it was a significant achievement just to get the interest in purchasing the private revenue bonds,” Sweeney, explained.

“To convince Wall Street to underwrite and sell revenue bonds for a bridge 300 miles north of Detroit in the 1950s, there were two people who really instrumental, [Late U.S. Senator] Prentiss M. Brown and Charles T. Fisher Jr.,” Brown, said.

That financing, incredible engineering by David Steinman and decades of hard work by those who maintain it, led way to the bridge we know and love 61 years and counting.

“It was just such a unifying force and project that brought people from all walks of life together and what is more satisfying for the future, and future generations. I have no doubt that everybody who works on the bridge believes they have left something noble and good to their children, grandchildren and people of this state,” Barbara added.