2005-08-27 / Top News

48th Annual Bridge Walk To Highlight Labor Day

The 48th annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk Monday, September 5, will commemorate the Michigan Department of Transportation’s centennial and highway officials are trying to arrange a military jet flyover during the walk between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m.

The night before, the state agency is arranging a fireworks display over the bridge.

Bridge Walk

The Bridge Walk will get underway Monday at 7 a.m. and walkers must start no later than 11 a.m. There is no registration or fee.

The walk starts at the north end of the bridge in St. Ignace and ends in Mackinaw City. Walkers from the Lower Peninsula can drive to St. Ignace and park at the Mackinac Bridge Authority parking lot west of the toll plaza, walk south, and then, for $2 per person, ride a school bus back north. They can also park on the south end of the bridge and board a school bus for $2 per person in Mackinaw City for a ride north, then walk back across the bridge.

The school buses are driven by volunteer drivers. The bus stop is at Conkling Park in Mackinaw City and buses begin transporting walkers at 5:30 a.m. Service ends at 2:30 p.m.

The two northbound bridge lanes will be closed for walkers until 9:30 a.m., and the two southbound lanes will be maintained for motorists. Walkers are reminded to stay away from any construction or working fixtures left on the bridge.

There are no restrooms on the bridge and the average time to walk the span is two hours. Portable toilets will be positioned at each end of the bridge and at the bus loading area.

Baby strollers and wheelchairs are allowed on the bridge during the walk, but bicycles, roller skates, skateboards, wagons, and similar implements are not permitted. With the exception of seeing-eye dogs, no pets are allowed.

Michigan National Guard troops and Mackinac Bridge Authority employees will be stationed along the bridge roadway for any emergencies, and ambulances will be stationed at each end of the bridge.

Walkers should keep clear of oncoming traffic and be careful not to trip over the median grates. Motorists should expect delays, be alert to the walkers, and be patient when driving over the bridge.

All toll booths will be open except for the booth closest to the administration building, which will be used to allow walkers and busloads of passengers through.

At the completion of the walk in Mackinaw City, participants will receive a numbered certificate to commemorate the accomplishment. Merchants in St. Ignace and Mackinaw City will display numbers in their store windows and matching numbers will earn the certificate holder a prize valued at between $15 and $150.

Information regarding special assistance for disabled walkers can be obtained from the Mackinac Bridge Authority at (906) 643-7600.

Supporting law enforcement will be from the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Mackinac County Sheriff’s Department, Emmet County Sheriff’s Department, and Michigan State Police from Petoskey, Cheboygan, and St. Ignace.

The United States Coast Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will be on hand.

Bridge ‘Fun Run’

The “fun run” with Governor Jennifer Granholm will be continued this year. It is promoted by the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and permits 300 Michigan residents, selected at random June 30, to run the bridge ahead of the walkers. The Governor and the first wave of runners will start at 6:45 a.m., with the last group taking off five minutes before the walkers.

The event will not be timed and the course will not be certified for distance.

Whether walking or running the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day, Governor Granholm said, “participants can be true fitness role models for citizens across the state.”

Early Island Boats

Arnold Transit Company and Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry will provide early boat departures to and from Mackinac Island and the mainland for the Labor Day Bridge Walk.

Shepler’s will have a departure to St. Ignace from the Island at 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. A special departure to the Island from St. Ignace will leave at 6:30 a.m.

In Mackinaw City, Shepler’s will have a boat heading to the Island at 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Special boat departures from the Island to Mackinaw City are scheduled for 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. The company will then resume its regularly scheduled departures from both docks.

Arnold Transit has special boat departures from the Island to St. Ignace at 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. and boat leaves St. Ignace for the Island at 6:30 a.m.

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