UPDATE 7:20 p.m.
Right before the peak season for travel across the Mackinac Bridge, the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed they are investigating how a crane boom hit the bridge.
The bridge was hit earlier this month, but the investigation into it is still ongoing right now.
James Lake, a spokesperson from the Mackinac Bridge Authority, said the bridge was hit more than a week and a half ago. He said the bridge is structurally sound but will need repairs.
“There was evidence that the bridge had been struck, paint had been knocked off. Some of the structural steel had been scraped, but not to a degree that would be of a structural concern, " said Lake.
The U.S. Coast Guard said a tug & barge company pulling a barge with a boom crane as cargo hit the bridge on May 7.
Tyler Carlsgaard, from the Sault Sainte Marie Inspections Division, said the transport company wasn’t even aware they had hit the bridge until later when they discovered substantial damage to the crane.
“The towing vessel was out front with a tow line extended behind which had the barge. So there actually was some separation between the barge and the tug. There wasn’t exactly an initial knowledge that there was damage to the crane because it was further back behind the tug,” said Carlsgaard.
The Coast Guard is investigating what went wrong.
“The exact causal factors are unknown at this time. As far as why the crane made contact with the bridge. So we have an ongoing casualty investigation. We’ll continue that as far as interviews and determining truck lines, etc. Just try to narrow down exactly what the cause was and then proceed from there,” said Carlsgaard.
The Mackinac Bridge Authority said the main span of the bridge suspended above the shipping channel was where the impact occurred. They believe the impact occurred during the overnight hours.
The bridge is deemed safe. It was checked out by engineers from the Mackinac Bridge Authority several times since the incident but it will need to be repaired.
“We expect that they will be expensive repairs to make,” said Lake.
They said they hope to have a more thorough inspection done before the Memorial Day Weekend kicks off.
“Memorial Day weekend really marks the beginning of the summer tourism season. and when we start seeing the traffic volumes really increase for the year. We may need brief lane closures while we’re doing the inspection, but they should not impede travel,” said Lake.
The spokesperson from the Mackinac Bridge Authority said they are working with the state’s attorney general’s MDOT division to recover damages from the transport company for repairs.
The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating how a crane boom hit the Mackinac Bridge.
MDOT officials confirmed on Friday that they received a report over a week and a half ago about the bridge being hit.
They say the main span of the bridge suspended above the shipping channel was hit by a crane boom passing beneath the bridge, but there is no concern to the public.
The bridge was checked out by engineers from the Mackinac Bridge Authority several times since the incident.
We will have more on this developing story.