Bridge Workers

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During the construction of the Mackinac Bridge in the 1950's, five men unfortunately lost their lives.

One man died in a diving accident; one man fell in a caisson while welding; one man fell into the water and drowned; and two men fell from a temporary catwalk near the top of north tower.

The names of those five men (and the date of their deaths) are listed below.

Frank Pepper, Sept. 16, 1954
James R. LeSarge, Oct. 10, 1954
Albert Abbott, Oct. 25, 1954
Jack C. Baker, June 6, 1956
Robert Koppen, June 6, 1956

In May 2004, during a public ceremony, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) presented a special plaque to the surviving family members honoring these men.

After the bridge was built and opened to traffic, one MBA maintenance worker lost his life. On August 7, 1997, Daniel Doyle, a bridge painter, fell from his painting platform and drowned in the Straits of Mackinac. His tragic and unfortunate death shocked everyone.

Dan and others who have lost their lives on the job are permanently honored by MDOT in the Clare Welcome Center located in Clare, Michigan. The Employee Memorial is a permanent tribute to highway workers all over Michigan who lost their lives along highways and bridges. The Clare memorial provides an opportunity to educate the public about the human cost of building and maintaining Michigan's transportation system.

All six of these men will forever be remembered by many.