Mackinac Bridge Authority

Spanning the Straits of Mackinac since 1957

Why doesn’t the Authority install heat cables to the surfaces that ice up, or run a current through the bridge’s metal structure to prevent ice from forming?

Posted on November 10th, 2022

Some type of heating system could be possible but running a current through the bridge could result in corrosion of some bridge components, and heat cables would be costly to install and maintain. Other methods, such as devices that “patrol” cables to prevent ice from forming, are being tried on other bridges, but would be difficult to retrofit to a bridge like the Mighty Mac. So far, the Authority has not found a cost-effective and practical solution relative to the infrequent, short-term closures resulting from falling ice, nor one that wouldn’t potentially damage the bridge. Icing is a problem for cable bridges around the world in climates like ours and no one has developed a practical solution to this infrequent but annoying problem.

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