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Bridge will have mechanics, port-a-johns for stuck motorists on Labor Day

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The Mackinac Bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic the morning of Labor Day.

The bridge authority is getting ready to deal with long traffic backups and other inconveniences to holiday travelers.

The bridge authority will set up rest stations with snacks and drinks. It’s rented 250 port-a-johns to be set up on the highways leading to the bridge. And two roving mechanics will assist stranded motorists while the bridge is closed to traffic during the annual Labor Day bridge walk, says the bridge authority’s Bob Sweeney.

“The reason we’re closing the bridge to all traffic is a recommendation by the Michigan State Police and Homeland Security based on emerging threats around the world.”

 He says the authority has tried to get the word out in advance e so travelers can adjust their plans.

“Even with these efforts, there will be people who simply will not have heard the message, and may arrive and end up in one of our stations to wait out the bridge closure.”

“They’re really looking for minor things, such as someone running out of gas, or a flat tire, or an engine over-heating, or dead batteries. They’ll get that motorist on their way. If it’s something that’s more difficult, they’ll call a tow truck.” 

Sweeney says organizers have also set up refreshment stations and rented 250 port-a-johns that will be stationed on the highways leading to the bridge.

Sweeney says the longest back-ups typically occur on Highway Two on the UP side of the bridge. The bridge is being closed to traffic with the exception of busses that ferry walkers and emergency vehicles. The decision to close the bridge from 6-30 AM to noon was in response to worldwide terrorist attacks at crowded events.

Rick Pluta is the Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is heard daily on WCMU's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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