Growing up, ferry boats were a means of transportation for us. In fact, they were also entertainment; many Saturday afternoons were spent riding the ferry back and forth between Baton Rouge and Port Allen. As children we never considered just how important they were. Once the interstate bridge was built and river traffic became heavy, the ferry boats were parked. A piece of local history vanished.
As we travel, we realize the same has happened all over the country. So it was connecting lower and upper Michigan. Once the Mackinac Bridge was built, the ferries were stopped. Of course the ferries on Lake Huron were very different from the ones in south Louisiana. The ones on the lake also had to be able to break ice for winter travel.
We were lucky to not only travel across the Mighty Mac, but also travel under the bridge. On our ferry trip to Mackinac Island, the boat took a detour and brought us under the Mighty Mac. And yes it is mighty!
Bridge building began May 7, 1954 and was open to traffic November 1, 1957. The five mile long bridge is the world’s fifth longest suspension bridge with 8,614 feet suspended. The bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere. With the building of the Mighty Mac, Michigan was united by highways. The bridge spans the distance between Mackinaw City in lower Michigan and St. Ignace in upper Michigan.
Although the bridge gave easier travel, the cost was expensive. For a passenger vehicle the fare was $7.50 round trip. The fare was a day’s wage for most people so travel was limited. Over the years the cost decreased and travel increased. Today the cost is $4.00 for passenger vehicles. Our cost to cross with truck and 5th wheel was $20.00 for five miles.
We have crossed many bridges and we agree this one is mighty both looking up from the water or looking out as we crossed. We are glad we had the opportunity to view the Mighty Mac from different perspectives.