How the Mackinac Bridge Closure Affects Drivers

Mackinac Bridge 2The Mackinac Bridge is open again after being closed, two days in a row, due to falling ice. With two days of closures, some drivers waited hours to cross from one side to the other.

Jade Barlow is one of those drivers. She lives in Petoskey and commutes across the Mackinac Bridge several times a week, so when the Mackinac Bridge closed because of falling ice she had no other option than to sit and wait.

“I’ll sit here while I have to. I know they don’t close the bridge unless they absolutely have to, so I trust them implicitly,” Barlow said. “They know what they’re doing. So it’s frustrating, a little bit of a delay, but it’s for our own good, our safety.”

Barlow says this isn’t even the first time she’s had to wait for the bridge to reopen.

“It’s been closed a couple times. One time I sat on the north side with the road crew during a blizzard and we drank coffee until it was all clear and I was the first one over, actually. So that was kind of fun,” Barlow says.

But Friday’s closure was a surprise to her.

Mackinac Bridge 1“It’s a beautiful day. I was very surprised to see the sign that it was closed. It’s typically wind or snow and neither of that’s really happening. So I was surprised, but it’s ok. It’s safety, safety first,” Barlow said.

The Mackinac Bridge Director, Kim Nowack, says ice started falling Thursday but refroze overnight which allowed traffic to cross late in the evening.

The warmer temperatures today caused the ice to melt, which led to another shut down of the bridge.

“It’s very dangerous because it’s thick ice. And so we certainly don’t want vehicles traveling underneath that thick ice,” said Nowack. “It’s similar to bricks falling off of an overpass or concrete falling off of an overpass.”

While crews spent the day monitoring the ice and helping to shake it loose, Barlow was taking in the ‘Mighty Mack’ before she was able to cross.

“This is like one of the seven wonders of the world, in my opinion, so just enjoy,” Barlow said. “It’s beautiful and it’s kind of cool, actually. It doesn’t happen very often. So I don’t know, you’re making history.”