(CBS DETROIT) – A typical United States flag takes care and attention for display and storage, but when that flag is 30 feet tall by 60 feet long, hung from the tower of the Mackinac Bridge, it’s even tougher.
On Thursday when the maintenance staff of the Mackinac Bridge Authority plan to fly the flag from the north tower for Independence Day, most of the work is expected to be done with an ingenious new reel designed and built in-house.READ MORE: 'Stop the Violence': Detroit Police Officers Host Basketball Game To Promote Peace At Schools
Purchased in 2016 and first flown from the bridge’s south tower on Memorial Day 2017, the flag is displayed on six holidays each year: Memorial Day, Flag Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Patriots Day and Veterans Day.
Hanging the flag requires stopping traffic and roughly a dozen staff to unroll it as it is hoisted beneath the tower. Removing it takes about the same time and effort.
MBA Maintenance Supervisor Ned McLennan has led the effort to hang the flag from the bridge towers when weather permits and took on the challenge with his staff to store the flag similar to a roll-up window curtain and lower it using a remote control, making it safer for staff and requiring only one person to operate. Its use doesn’t require bridge traffic to stop.READ MORE: Detroit Retiree Sees Sidewalk Repaired Months After Water Main Break
The device, which is roughly 36 feet long and 5 feet in diameter, also stores the flag and protects it from the elements when not in use. McLennan investigated and found that rolling large flags for storage is acceptable by flag etiquette standards.
The maintenance staff painted the device, matching the iconic ivory of the bridge towers and installation on the tower took several days of calm weather to complete.MORE NEWS: GOP Michigan Governor Candidate Ryan Kelley Says COVID Policies At Debate A 'Dealbreaker'