MI Resort Skybridge Construction Underway
Construction for the world’s longest timber-towered suspension bridge has reportedly begun at Boyne Mountain Resort in Michigan. The SkyBridge Michigan is part of the resort’s Renaissance 2.0 upgrades and was designed by Experiential Resources’ (ERi) Todd Domeck.
According to the resort, guests will be able to ride one of several chair lifts to the mountain top, then walk along the 1,203-foot long and 118-foot high pedestrian bridge. It will also connect to the paved resort trail system.
The SkyBridge will extend from the peak of McLouth, go over Ramshead and reach to the summit of Disciples Ridge.
“SkyBridge Michigan is easily about to become ‘Michigan’s second bridge,’ enticing travelers to take a walk on the wild side,” said the resort website. “Panoramic valley views and extensive light displays are a guaranteed camera pleaser. Open year round, every season has a reason to take in the views from this architectural masterpiece.”
The pedestrian footbridge was modeled after the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, located at the resort’s sister property, Gatlinburg SkyLift Park in Tennessee. The timber-frame design is “a nod to the logging heritage of northern Michigan” with lumber sourced from Matelski Lumber in Boyne Falls. The main cable will be galvanized steel and the walking surface will be steel framing with pultruded grating deck.
SkyBridge Michigan construction is well underway. Scope out the progress, the fall views, and start planning your trip to venture across all 1,203 feet of this beauty. Coming early summer 2022.— Boyne Mountain (@Boyne_Mountain) October 14, 2021
LIVE! Watch Construction in Real-Time: https://t.co/UC0lQX8DdJ pic.twitter.com/9Jy809pUjT
The SkyBridge is currently scheduled to open in June of 2022. You can watch the construction in real-time here.
In 2019, the longest suspension pedestrian bridge in the U.S., located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, opened in May, running 680 feet across a valley in the Great Smoky Mountains. The ground falls away 140 feet below, roughly around the structure’s midpoint.
What has been dubbed the SkyBridge, which belongs to Skylift Park, was designed and installed by ERi (Dayton, Ohio) for Boyne USA (Boyne Falls, Michigan).
According to CNN, the span features glass panels along the center of the walkway to allow visitors to see the ground beneath them. Skylift Park also features a chairlift that takes passengers up 500 feet, from Gatlinburg to the top of Crockett Mountain. Once the bridge opened, visitors were be able to take the chairlift up to the bridge, enjoying the view. Plans also include an observation area and snack shop, as well as a bar and gift shop.
ERi selected Hayward Baker Inc. for the design and installation of the bridge’s micropiles.
The resulting micropile resists compressive, uplift/tension and lateral loads, and meets the testing requirements of ASTM D 1143 (compressive), ASTM D 3689 (uplift/tension) and ASTM D 3966 (lateral).
Once the micropiles were installed, focus shifted to preparing the foundations for concrete. The subsurface assembly of each side consists of two bases, 44 threaded rods and other hardware. Threaded rod placement was imperative, as “the top of each assembly would also have a template to help ensure that everything was held perfectly in place while the concrete cured,” notes ERi. The steel rods are 2 inches in diameter, each weighing roughly 50 pounds.
The concrete forms for the abutments, installed by general contractor Mike Walston, of MCW Construction, were made from lumber, and heavily reinforced. According to ERi, with everything accounted for, the bridge weighs more than 1 million pounds.
Though the developer behind the SkyBridge claims that this is the longest suspension pedestrian bridge in North America, that title can arguably go to the pedestrian suspension bridge at Kelowna Mountain, in Canada, which the park claims runs over 800 feet long.