"The Portage Lift Bridge" Top 5 Page for this destination Houghton Favorite Tip by KimberlyAnn
Houghton Favorites: 7 reviews and 13 photos
Favorite thing: The Portage Lift Bridge is the only bridge that crosses the Keweenaw Waterway, which splits the Upper Peninsula in half. This lift bridge is located between Houghton and Hancock. The first bridge built in this location was built in 1875, and was constructed of wood. A steel bridge later replaced the wooden bridge. The bridge that you see today was built in 1959, and is the heaviest aerial lift bridge in the world. As the name states, this bridge is operated in such a way that the middle section can be raised and lowered. It ranges in height from 4 foot to 100 ft over the water. This bridge is a double deck bridge. At one time the upper level was for vehicles, and trains used the lower level. Since trains no longer travel this route, the tracks have been removed, and it is now a road. In the winter the bridge is lowered, as there are no boats transversing the waterway, and the lower section is then used by snowmobiles, while cars use the upper level. In the summer the bridge is usually left in an up position, which allows automobile and foot traffic to move back and fourth across the waterway, and boats up to 35 feet in height to freely pass under. If a boat is taller than this, then one must call the bridge master and ask that he raise the bridge. When this happens, all traffic must stop until the boat has passed under and the bridge is again lowered to street level.
Fondest memory: My favorite thing is visiting the waterway at night, when it is lit up, casting its reflection onto the Keweenaw Waterway. My photo shows this nighttime view. Photo two is daytime view, and photo three shows the bridge lifted to allow the Ranger to pass under on its way to Isle Royal.
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