Falling ice prompts temporary Mackinac Bridge closure

Becky Vargo • Jan 24, 2016 at 5:34 PM

Accumulated ice falling from the Mackinac Bridge prompted bridge officials to close it to traffic temporarily Saturday afternoon as a safety precaution.

The bridge was closed for about three hours.

Warmer temperatures and increased sun loosened ice that formed on the bridge’s towers and cables, causing some of it to fall on the driving lanes below. The Mackinac Bridge Authority closed the bridge until the ice was clear or stopped falling, which in the past has taken an average of a few hours, depending on weather conditions.

“At some points of the bridge, the ice is falling at heights of more than 300 feet, and we can’t risk having that ice fall on vehicles or their occupants,” said MBA Executive Secretary Bob Sweeney. “We expect the closure to last no more than a few hours, but it will really depend on how quickly the ice stops falling.”

In the past 20 years, the bridge has closed eight times for falling ice. The duration of the closures has ranged from 37 minutes up to two hours 55 minutes, with the average closure lasting just under two hours.

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