The challenges and perils of falling ice on the Mackinac Bridge

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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, questions and explanations about the increasing frequency of melting ice falling from the Mackinac Bridge cables, creating hazards for motorists and the need to close the bridge for many hours at a time. This video illustrates the danger.

As this record shows, closures because of falling ice have happened with increasing frequency.

First, Matt Chynoweth, chief bridge engineer at the Michigan Department of Transportation, explains what causes the big chunks of ice to come crashing down and the challenges other bridge operators across the country and world have had in managing the problem.

In Toledo, the Ohio Department of Transportation has been forced to close the Veterans Glass City Skyway over the Maumee River because of falling ice.

Chynoweth also explains the challenge in striking a balance between the cost of delays to travelers and the expensive solutions being discussed elsewhere.

Later, James Lake, MDOT North Region media relations representative who also supports the Mackinac Bridge Authority, talks about his efforts in explaining the issues to media outlets and social media users.
Podcast photo: Ice builds up on the iconic green Mackinac Bridge cables.

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