Sixty-one years ago today, the Mackinac Bridge opened, connecting Michigan’s Lower and Upper peninsulas.
“Mighty Mac” is the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere – at 12,826 feet – and is a symbol of Michigan’s most celebrated infrastructure achievements. For more than six decades, millions of Michiganders and visitors from other states and nations have traveled across the Mackinac Bridge. And thanks to proper funding and maintenance, those travelers have been able to pass from peninsula to peninsula safely.
You can find more than 11,000 other bridges across the State of Michigan. However, 1 in 9 locally and state-maintained bridges are currently rated as structurally deficient. That’s why the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave Michigan bridges a grade of “C-” in the organization’s 2018 infrastructure report card.
But Michigan doesn’t just have a bridge problem. Michigan has an infrastructure problem, with massive, un-met infrastructure needs across the state, from thousands of miles of roads and bridges in poor condition to century-old storm water and wastewater systems. Our drinking water systems are also aging, and 90% of our dams will be at or over their functional lifespans in just a few years. The ASCE slapped our infrastructure with an overall failing grade of “D+.”
Michigan, we have a problem.
That’s why Fix MI State has declared November 1 “Michigan Infrastructure Day.” A day to look back on our proud infrastructure achievements, like the Mackinac Bridge, and to look forward to our state Legislature finally approving a long-term solution to fix our state.