The 2021 Mackinac Bridge Walk on Labor Day, Sept. 6, is just days away, and final preparations are under way.
“Whether your travels will take you across the Mackinac Bridge, or you plan to join in the annual bridge walk, we want to make sure everyone has the information they need for a safe and enjoyable Labor Day holiday,” said Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) Bridge Director Kim Nowack.
The bridge will again be closed to public traffic during the 2021 walk, from 6:30 a.m. to noon, based on recommendations from the Michigan State Police and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Emergency vehicles will still be permitted to cross the bridge but no public vehicles will be allowed until the walk concludes and participants are off the bridge.
“We strongly urge everyone who is traveling in the Straits area on Monday to make their plans around this scheduled closure,” Nowack said. “Traffic backups are frustrating for everyone, so we ask that you either cross the bridge prior to 6:30 a.m. or time your trip to arrive at the bridge after noon.”
Based on the success of the 2018 and 2019 events, the MBA will again start the 2021 Annual Bridge Walk from both St. Ignace and Mackinaw City, which eliminates the need for busing and offers additional options for participants. The bridge walk was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A video posted on the MBA website at www.MackinacBridge.org/Walk explains the bridge walk schedule and the choices people will have whether they start from the north or south ends of the bridge.
Walkers essentially have three main options, outlined in the video:
- Starting from either end of the bridge and walking toward the center, turning around at the midpoint and returning to the city they started from, where their transportation is located. The turnaround points will move toward the ends of the bridge beginning at 10 a.m., but walkers can walk at least a portion of the bridge if they start by 11:30 a.m. Walkers must be on the side of the bridge they wish to return to before 10 a.m.
- Walking the entire length of the bridge starting from either end. Those who choose this option must reach the midpoint before 10 a.m. or they will be turned back. Anyone who walks the entire bridge must arrange their own transportation back to the side they started once the bridge reopens to public traffic at noon.
- Crossing the bridge, starting from either end, and then turning around and walking back to the side they started from. In this option, walkers will need to cross the midpoint on their return trip by 10 a.m. or they will be turned back and need to find their own transportation back across the bridge after it reopens at noon.
For participant health and safety, the MBA urges participants to follow CDC recommendations that suggest you wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings.
People who are interested in receiving text messages about bridge closures, including closure information for the Annual Bridge Walk, can sign up for Mackinac County 911’s RAVE Alert System updates. There is no cost to receive these updates, aside from any texting fees from the participant’s mobile coverage plan. To opt into this text alert system:
- Text “MacBridge” to 67283.
- Users will receive this reply, verifying participation in the text alerting system:
“Welcome to Mac Bridge. Reply STOP MacBridge to Cancel. MSG & Data Rates May Apply MSG Frequency Varies.”
- A second reply will follow: “Welcome to the Mackinac Bridge Text Alerting System. TO OPT OUT of this alerting system reply STOP MacBridge.”
The bridge walk has been an annual event since 1958, with the exception of 2020. The 2021 walk will be the 63rd event. Between 25,000 and 30,000 people have participated in recent years.