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Spring marks the start of busy season for Mackinac Bridge

(upnorthlive.com photo)

STRAITS OF MACKINAC, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- Spring rolls in more than just warmer temperatures, it brings an annual upswing of tourism for northern Michigan -- including an increase of traffic for the Mighty Mac.

The Mackinac Bridge Authority says the special events season is ready to begin.

The first event is Jeep the Mac which starts Friday. This event involves hundreds of Jeeps driving over the Mackinac Bridge organized by the St. Ignace Events Committee.

"People come to cross the Mackinac Bridge throughout the year, and spring begins our annual upswing in traffic," said Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) Executive Secretary Bob Sweeney. "Special events like Jeep the Mac not only bring a lot of customers to the bridge, but also a lot of publicity for the bridge and the surrounding communities."

Other special events at the bridge include the 14th Annual Memorial Bridge Run on May 27, the 42nd Annual St. Ignace Car Show Weekend from June 22 to 24 and the 4th Annual Mustang Stampede on July 15.

MBA says special events and tourism season coincide as the weather shifts from snow and cold to sun and warmer temperatures. When this happens, the bridge sees traffic volumes begin to pick up again as tourists head north to the Upper Peninsula to see the Soo Locks, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Michigan state parks.

MBA says the lowest traffic levels are from December through March and it starts to rise in April building through the summer to the annual peak in August.

This year also marks the start of a two-year project to strip the lead-based paint form the bridge's north tower and replace it with zinc-based paint. MBA says delays should be minimal as lane closures will be removed for holidays and peak traffic periods.

CLICK HERE for more information on Jeep the Mac.

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