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Repainting Mackinac Bridge's south tower expected to begin next week

Mackinac Bridge
Julie Falk
Michigan's Mackinac Bridge

State officials say a two-year, $6.5 million painting project on the Mackinac Bridge's south tower will start next week. 

The Mackinac Bridge Authority handles the operation. Bob Sweeney is the MBA’s Chief Executive Officer. He says a contracted company will repaint the tower the iconic ivory color.

Sweeney says, "This is the first time we have completely stripped the towers down to the bare metal and repainted them. We've painted them through the years, but we just added paint layers we didn't really strip them down to bare metal like this time."

Officials expect added traffic, but hope to mitigate it. 

"During the summer and a good part of the season we're going to have lane closures out there," says Sweeney. "So, when the traffic gets to a certain level where we cannot accommodate that lane closures, where we have such high demand, then we will remove those lane closures."

The bridge is over 60 years old. Sweeney says the restorative work they are doing now will help extend the bridge's life. He says the next big project is replacing the deck-system, which is planned for 2024 and over $100 million.

Officials say the $6.5 million project is funded by the bridge’s tolls. It is expected to be completed by December 2020.

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