KEWEENAW — Just how was the Portage Lake Life bridge built? You can see it all in a restored documentary film.

It’s hard to imagine the Portage Canal without the iconic Lift Bridge spanning the waterway. But in the 1950’s, work crews accomplished a modern marvel that has inspired thousands of photographs and made life easier for those living in the Keweenaw.

An amazing documentary film about the bridge’s construction has just been digitized and re–released by the Michigan Department of Transportation.

“The new Houghton–Hancock bridge was to cost $11 million,” said the narrator, “and because of the unusual conditions it has to meet, it was to be unlike any other bridge in the world.”

It’s called “Keweenaw Crossing: Michigan’s Elevator Bridge”, a 30–minute film that is full of old footage of Houghton and Hancock during the project.

The video shows just how critical the recent $8.4 million maintenance project was to keep this engineering wonder functioning.

The documentary has been posted by MDOT to YouTube, and can be seen at below.