The United States Flag requires attention and care whenever it is displayed. When that flag is 30 feet tall by 60 feet long and hung from the tower of the Mackinac Bridge, it’s even tougher. The flag that will hang from the Mackinac Bridge again this year was purchased in 2016. The first time it was hung, it required stopping traffic and roughly a dozen staff to unroll it as it was hoisted beneath the tower. This Thursday, when the maintenance staff of the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) unfurls the flag for Independence Day, most of the work is expected to be done with an ingenious new reel which was designed and built in-house.
MBA Maintenance Supervisor Ned McLennan led the effort to hang the flag. McLennan devised a way to store the flag similar to a roll-up window curtain and lower it using a remote control, which requires only one person to operate. With the use of the reel, bridge traffic won’t be required to stop. The device stores the flag and protects it from the elements when not in use. McLennan learned that rolling large flags for storage is acceptable by flag etiquette standards. If you’re traveling to the U.P this holiday, be sure to look out for that flag on the Mackinac Bridge…it will be hard to miss.