This November marks the 65th anniversary of the opening of the Mackinac Bridge, the iconic structure linking Michigan’s two peninsulas. Each year, tens of thousands of people from across the state and other regions descend on the Straits of Mackinac for the experience of traversing the bridge.
On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, first, Patrick “Shorty” Gleason, a long-time member and chairman of the Mackinac Bridge Authority, shares his memories of many walks with friends and family. As an iron worker, his father, Mike Gleason, helped build the bridge, and Shorty talks about the legacy and his own experience as an iron worker.
Later, Cole Cavalieri, assistant chief engineer at the Mackinac Bridge, talks about the ongoing work to maintain the bridge, projects in the works or planned for the future, and the pride he takes in watching people experience the bridge during the annual walk.
He also discusses recent challenges in maintaining the bridge, including the changing climate’s role in altering freeze-thaw cycles and causing ice to melt and fall on the driving lanes.