The World’s Highest and Longest Glass-Bottomed Bridge
Glass bridges in China have been a popular craze for the daring photo opportunities they provide. Events like mass yoga displays and even weddings have been staged on several such bridges. Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge is a bridge in Zhangjiajie, China, above the Wulingyuan area. The glass-bottomed and transparent bridge connects two mountain cliffs in what are known as the Avatar mountains (the film was shot here) in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province.
The record-breaking Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge cost $74.6 million to build, measures 1,410 feet long and stands 984 feet above the ground is located in south-central China. The bridge is made of a steel frame with more than 120 glass panels of three-layered transparent glass, each of these panels is a 2-inch-thick slab of tempered glass. Also there is a provision for making a 265 metre bungee-jump. This is considered to be highest such jump in the world. And according to officials, the 6m-wide bridge – designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan and Chinese engineer Zhi Dong Cheng – has already set world records for its architecture and construction.
The architectural feat—which opened on August 20, 2016 —closed after 13 days due to what local officials describe as “an overwhelming volume of visitors.” the glass-bottom bridge was designed to hold up to 800 people at once, and up to 8,000 visitors per day. Yet, with all the hype surrounding the structure, the demand has far exceeded the bridge’s capacity. After some 80,000 visitors attempted to see the bridge each day, officials were forced to close it for improvements to the structure. The authorities said that the government decided to suspend operations due to the “urgency to improve and update” the attraction, including its car parks, ticket-booking system, and customer service. The bridge reopened on September 30, 2016.
But how safe is it? This was the question on everyone’s minds. One month before the bridge was opened, BBC reporter, Click’s Dan Simmons was challenged to smash his way through one of the sky-walk panels. Further add to the confidence level, officials sent in sledgehammers and even drove a car, filled with passengers, across the bridge earlier in 2016.
Since opened, millions of visitors took the challenge to walk on this breathtaking transparent bridge. Tourists walking on their own looking like it was no big deal, people daring each other to cross first, trembling visitors practically crawling across with eyes closed, and others having to be dragged hand and foot by their friends.
Everyone who visits receives a time-slot to visit the bridge and expect a crowd of 800 people waiting in queue for the thrilling trip at a time. Before going out onto the bridge, you will be handed a pair of rubber-padded booties to put over your shoes in protecting the glass from scuffing. Large objects (cameras, drones, backpacks, etc) are not permitted to avoid any possibility of accidental crack on the bridge. Up there on the bridge, the scenery is gorgeous with granite mountains carpeted with lush green plantation, forests, waterfalls and streams.
Source: chinadiscovery.com, bbc.com