After the 2020 edition of the annual Mackinac Bridge walk was canceled due to concerns surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, the Mackinac Bridge Authority is warning walkers that this year's setup could leave them stranded if they don't plan ahead.

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As was done in 2018 & 2019, and as advised by the Department of Homeland Security, the entire bridge will shut down to vehicle traffic to allow the bridge walkers to depart from either Mackinaw City heading north or St. Ignace heading south. While that increases options for bridge walkers to decide on their departure points, it could leave them stranded on the wrong peninsula without proper planning.

As part of the new procedures, there is no longer busing available for those who wish to walk completely across the bridge and then ride back once the bridge is open. Walkers must either arrange their own transportation or turn around at the halfway point of the bridge. For those hoping to use rideshare services such as Lyft or Uber, service is expected to be VERY limited and slow immediately following the event.

The MBA has laid out essentially three options for those that will be walking this year:

  • Starting from either end of the bridge and walking toward the center, turning around at the midpoint and returning 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. Walkers must be on the side of the bridge they wish to return to before 10 a.m.
  • Walking 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.
  • Crossing the bridge, starting from either end, and then turning around and walking 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.

Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) Bridge Director Kim Nowack also reminds motorists that major backups are to be expected during and immediately following the walk, which will shut down the bridge from 6:30a to approximately 12 noon:

We strongly urge everyone who is travelling in the Straits area on Monday to make their plans around this scheduled closure. Traffic backups are frustrating for everyone, so we ask that you either cross the bridge prior to 6:30 a.m. or time your trip to arrive at the bridge after noon.

The bridge walk has been an annual event since 1958, with the exception of 2020. The 2021 walk will be the 63rd event. Between 25,000 and 30,000 people have participated in recent years.

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