Great Lakes
A portion of M-185 on the northern tip of Mackinac Island crumbled after rain and high winds this week. Jason St. Onge / Detroit Free Press

MI - On Mackinac Island, Lake Huron's waves are destroying an iconic highway

On a typical sunny summer day, Mackinac Island’s car-free highway would be teeming with walkers, bicyclists and horseback riders taking in virtually unbroken views of Lake Huron’s crystalline waters along the iconic 8.2-mile loop.

But at the height of the island’s summer tourism season, much of M-185 is deserted. Large barricades block off half of the road’s length, with signs warning of dangerous conditions ahead.

Beyond the barricades, record high Lake Huron water levels have flooded the island’s pebble beaches and swallowed large swaths of pavement, leaving craters where the road once stood.

In place of the tourists, heavy machinery rumbles down the highway, depositing 11-ton boulders into the water to absorb waves that have been gnawing away the asphalt. But with only $1.4 million to address an estimated $7.4 million in damage to M-185, only so much can be salvaged.

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