Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 20, 2013

Semi tips on Mackinac Bridge after wind gust

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — ST. IGNACE — A tractor-trailer tipped on its side Thursday night on the Mackinac Bridge when slapped by a nearly 80 mph wind gust, prompting officials to close the 5-mile-long span for several hours.

The northbound truck was carrying a light cargo load and nobody was hurt, Mackinac Bridge Authority executive secretary Bob Sweeney said Friday. The trailer section grazed one of the bridge’s suspension cables and came to rest on the outer railing, but both were undamaged except for scuffed paint, he said.

Officials provide escorts for “high-profile” vehicles — such as semis, pickup trucks with campers and cars towing small boats or bicycles — during especially windy periods in the Straits of Mackinac area, where Lakes Huron and Michigan converge. If winds are strong enough, the bridge can be closed to such vehicles.

On Thursday, “the winds moved in so quickly we didn’t have time to get an escort set up” before the truck tipped just after 9 p.m., Sweeney said