There are some big changes to the Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk this year, but there’s still time to plan for your participation in the event Labor Day morning.
The most significant change is that the walk will now start from both ends of the bridge, eliminating the need for buses transporting participants from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace.
“The biggest issue we faced last year was having to turn people away when we could not transport everyone to the starting point in time to participate,” said Bob Sweeney, executive secretary of the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA). “Starting the walk from both ends of the bridge will ensure maximum participation, as no walkers will need to wait for a bus to begin the event or return to their vehicles.”
The bridge will be closed to public traffic during the 2018 walk, from 6:30 a.m. to noon on Labor Day, Sept. 3. For those looking to cross the bridge that day, travelers should be aware that if they arrive in the Straits area during the walk they’ll need to wait until after noon to proceed. Northbound I-75 will be closed at Exit 337, and southbound I-75 and US-2 will be closed at Exit 344.
The walk begins at 7 a.m. No one will be permitted to start the walk after 11:30 a.m., so the bridge can reopen promptly at noon.
Starting the walk from both ends of the bridge also offers new options for participants, outlined in a video posted on the MBA website at www.mackinacbridge.org/walk. Walkers essentially have three main options:
- 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. 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 as long as they start by 11:30 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 from which they started once the bridge reopens to public traffic at noon.
- Walking the entire length of the bridge, starting from either end, and then turning around and walking back to the side from which they started. 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.
The MBA decided to close the bridge to public traffic during the walk beginning in 2017, 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 until the walk concludes and participants are off the bridge.