Walk halfway and make the U-turn? Walk all the way across and arrange a ride? Start early and walk the bridge twice? With a week to go until the 2019 Mackinac Bridge Walk, there’s still plenty of time to plan your participation in this annual tradition.
As in 2018, the walk will again start in both St. Ignace and Mackinaw City with three options for walkers. A video posted on the MBA website at www.MackinacBridge.org/Walk explains the bridge walk schedule and the choices people will have whether they start from the north or south ends of the bridge.
“We heard from many people last year that the new options worked well and that the walk was very enjoyable without vehicles on the bridge,” said Mackinac Bridge Authority Executive Secretary Kim Nowack. “Whether you’ve walked the bridge before or not, Labor Day 2019 will be a great day to participate in this 62-year tradition.”
Walkers have three main options, outlined in the video:
- Start from either end of the bridge and walk toward the center, turn around at the midpoint and return to the city they started from, where their transportation is located. The turnaround points will move toward the ends of the bridge beginning at 10 a.m., but walkers can walk at least a portion of the bridge if they start by 11:30 a.m.
- Walk the entire length of the bridge starting from either end. Those who choose this option must reach the midpoint before 10 a.m. or they will be turned back. Anyone who walks the entire bridge must arrange their own transportation back to the side they started once the bridge reopens to public traffic at noon.
- Cross the bridge, starting from either end, and then turn around and walk back to the side they started from. In this option, walkers will need to cross the midpoint on their return trip by 10 a.m. or they will be turned back and need to find their own transportation back across the bridge after it reopens at noon.
Because walkers can start from either end of the bridge when they arrive, there will be no buses transporting participants across the bridge.
The bridge will again be closed to public traffic during the 2019 walk from 6:30 a.m. to noon on Labor Day, Sept. 2, based on recommendations from the Michigan State Police and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Emergency vehicles will still be permitted to cross the bridge, but no public vehicles until the walk concludes and participants are off the bridge.
People who are interested in receiving text messages about bridge closures, including closure information for the annual bridge walk, can sign up for Mackinac County 911’s RAVE Alert System updates.
There is no cost to receive these updates, aside from any texting fees from the participant’s mobile coverage plan. To opt in to this text alert system:
- Text “MacBridge” to 67283.
- Users will receive this reply, verifying participation in the text alerting system:”Welcome to Mac Bridge. Reply STOP MacBridge to Cancel. MSG & Data Rates May Apply MSG Frequency Varies.”
- A second reply will follow: “Welcome to the Mackinac Bridge Text Alerting System. TO OPT OUT of this alerting system reply STOP MacBridge.”
Coast Guard and local partners enforcing security zone in waters around the Mackinac Bridge during annual Labor Day Bridge Walk
The Coast Guard will enforce a temporary security zone around the Mackinac Bridge during the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk, on September 2, 2019, from 6 a.m. until noon.
The security zone will include all navigable waters on either side of the Mackinac Bridge within one-quarter mile of the bridge, per 33 C.F.R. §165.928. As part of enhanced security measures for this year’s event, all waters within the security zone will be closed to recreational vessel traffic. Only commercial vessels with a valid Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection or foreign equivalent, and under the command of a licensed mariner, will be permitted to transit through the security zone.
Commercial vessels seeking to enter and transit the zone must obtain permission from the Coast Guard prior to entering the zone and should do so at least one hour in advance. Vessels should make initial contact with the Coast Guard Designated Representative of the Captain of the Port (COTP) on VHF channel 16.
All vessels entering or moving within the security zone must operate at speeds necessary to maintain a safe course and not exceed 12 knots. The on-scene Coast Guard Designated Representative of the COTP may control the movement of all vessels in the security zone and may subject vessels intending to transit the zone to additional screening as a condition of entry.
The Coast Guard will be assisted in the patrol and enforcement of this security zone by federal, state, and local agencies. When hailed or signaled by an official patrol vessel, a vessel in the zone is required to immediately comply with the directions given. Uncooperative mariners will be expelled from the zone, cited for failure to comply, or both. All concerned traffic may contact the Coast Guard Designated Representative of the COTP on VHF channel 16.
For further information, mariners may contact Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie at 906-635-3233.