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October 4, 2017

Celebrating 60 Years of Yoopers and Trolls at the 'Mighty Mac'

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Celebrating 60 Years of Yoopers and Trolls at the ‘Mighty Mac’

The bridge that skeptics said never could be built - and gephyrophobics fear to this day - turns 60 on Nov. 1. It's the Mighty Mac, the Mackinac Bridge that spans the Straits of Mackinac to connect Michigan's two peninsulas. Gephyrophobia - the fear of bridges - existed before the Mighty Mac opened in 1957 after 41 months of construction, but the bridge meant millions of travelers could discover whether the phobia lurked within them. At opening, it was the world's longest suspension bridge. It's now the fifth longest (Japan has the winner) and the longest in the western hemisphere. It's a dazzling sight over the swirling waters where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan blend, and its dimensions are astounding - it is 26,372 feet long (that's five miles), the suspended portion is 8,614 feet long (1.63 miles) and the roadway, which is I-75, rises 200 feet over the water. The Mighty Mac even expanded the region's vocabulary. Residents of the Upper Peninsula (the UP) long ago became known as "Yoopers," but with the opening of the bridge, Yoopers were free to call those living below the bridge "Trolls."
(Photo by Tom Adkinson)


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