Mackinac Bridge closing briefly overnight to hang painting scaffolds

Installation of the scaffold platform on the north tower of the Mackinac Bridge in June 2018. (MDOT photo.)
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MACKINAC CITY (WJRT) (5/3/2019) - The Mackinac Bridge will be closed fully for up to an hour overnight while painting contractors hang scaffolding on the south tower.

Seaway Painting is beginning a two-year, $6.5 million project to repaint the tower. They need to hang the scaffolding to support workers above the road surface to complete the job.

A closure of 30 minutes to an hour will occur sometime between midnight and 3 a.m. Saturday.

“The Mackinac Bridge is a unique structure, so it requires this custom equipment for a project of this scale,” said Mackinac Bridge Authority Executive Secretary Bob Sweeney. “These platforms, which were used during the project to repaint the north tower in 2017 and 2018, will help the contractor begin their work on the south tower.”

The rigging that will hold the scaffolding is connected to the top of the tower with safety blocks, hoists, safety cables and a net.

“While the sight of this work is certainly interesting, we urge drivers to keep their attention on driving and not on the platforms hanging above the roadway,” Sweeney said. "That’s critically important, both for drivers’ safety and the safety of our workers.”

The outside travel lanes around the south tower will remain closed for much of the next two construction seasons to accommodate work crews. Lane closures will be lifted on Fridays for northbound traffic and on Sundays for southbound traffic.

“Anyone who crosses the bridge in the warmer months is familiar with the sight of our continued work,” Sweeney said. “Please be patient and careful as we work to keep the bridge maintained for years to come.”