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Workers start training before painting Mackinac Bridge

Workers start training before painting Mackinac Bridge

MACKINAC COUNTY, MI (WPBN/WGTU) -- Training started Wednesday night for workers repainting the Mackinac Bridge.

It's to make sure first responders can handle any potential emergency situation as crews start to remove the paint on the inside of the bridge's north tower.

They will be working in very tight spaces.

Before starting to work on the outside of the tower, workers have to clear out the inside.

First they have to strip off all of the existing paint, which has lead in it.

Sandblasting the inside will create a low visibility environment.

”They’re going to be blasting in there, painting in there, and so they want to make sure that one, the rescue teams are well versed in how to rescue their employees that may need it," said Bob Sweeney, the CEO of the Mackinac Bridge Authority. "Then later both some of their employees and some of our employees will get some rescue training as well."

The St. Ignace Fire Department is doing the training since it would be responding if someone got stuck inside or needed to be rescued.

“They’re going to train up to 20 of their guys," Sweeney said. "They’re going to go out there and go through and rescue someone who is acting as if they are stranded or they’re under duress inside the tower, so the guys will go down, locate them, they’ll bring them out into the emergency vehicle.”

The bridge authority said this new paint job should last for 35 years.

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