Skywalkers: China builds terrifying glass bridge over giant canyon (VIDEO)
Appearing to float amongst the clouds above the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon in China’s Hunan province, the bridge stretches from one rocky outcrop to another and at 300 meters (984ft) high, is a vertigo-inducing addition to the natural landscape.
The amazing feat of engineering is the brainchild of award winning Israeli architect Haim Dotan, whose previous projects include a futuristic glass pavilion constructed for the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai.
Dotan’s latest glass work required workers to fit transparent panelling to the floor of the steel suspension structure while hoisted above a deathly drop.
Wan Tianbao, chief engineer with China Railway Major Bridge Reconnaissance, was one of the people tasked with making sure the passageway did not succumb to strong winds whistling through the valley, or cliff erosion.
He told China People’s Daily that one of the main design issues was figuring out how to stop vibrations from cracking the glass.
After all, the gleaming see-through walkway must be able to accommodate around 800 people at a time, as well as strutting catwalk models for mountaintop fashion shows planned at the site, and bungee jumping tourists.
“When many people walk on the bridge in quick progression, it is easy to cause resonance, which can lead to structural deformation,” Tianbao said.
“To avoid this, we placed a number of giant glass balls on the deck to restrain the vibration.”
Drone footage of the incredible design and engineering feat shows just how high the bridge sits above the Zhangjiajie Canyon floor.
Chinese engineers have something of a penchant for glass bottomed walkways and previously completed a similar but smaller bridge in the Shiniuzhai National Park.
However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing: last year saw a glass-bottomed walkway in China’s Henan province close for repairs just two weeks after opening when cracks began appearing beneath visitor’s feet on the clifftop route.