Knowing All about Hunan

Record breaking bridge in a glass of its own

Editor:李莎宁 实习生 黄颖艺
Updated:2016-08-23 09:05:39

Those who suffer from vertigo look away now.

The world's longest and highest glass-floored bridge is set to open to the public in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province on Aug 20, with many either excited or nervous visitors ready to cross the gaping chasm, complete with a mindboggling view beneath.

It is not the first, nor will it be the last of what has become an obsession for tourism bureaus across China, aiming to provide an element of excitement and danger to what are already truly unique and awe-inspiring landscapes.

The latest glass-bottomed bridge, spanning the Grand Canyon Scenic Area in Zhangjiajie, is a whopping 430 meters long, 6 meters wide, and paved with 99 panes of three-layered transparent glass. The bridge, set among the scenery that inspired the blockbuster movie "Avatar", strides across a 300-meter gorge, has set 10 different world records, and will accommodate 8,000 visitors a day when it opens.

And if those figures aren't enough to get you trembling, a bungee jump platform is to be built at the center of the bridge at a later date.

It's not just China that has fallen for these glass-floored attractions in recent years; many tourist sites across the world have taken the leap of faith too. London's Tower Bridge now has a glass walkway, as well as the Grand Canyon Skywalk in the United States.

Reports in 2015 that a group of Chinese visitors were left screaming after one of the glass panes cracked at a tourist attraction at Yuntai Mountain, Henan province, have not damped visitors' enthusiasm. However, authorities on this latest project have gone to pains to emphasize the safety of the bridge and glass.

In June this year, a group of Chinese officials and media representatives were invited to the bridge to conduct a series of extraordinary safety tests. First, 20 volunteers used sledge hammers to try and smash the glass, followed by a two-ton 4x4 driving across the same pane. Finally, the 20 hammerers gave it another go, and although there were some cracks, no one made a speedy descent to the ravine floor.

Designer for the project Wan Tianbao, said they had also taken precautions to stop the bridge from moving in the wind. "When lots of people walk on the bridge in quick progression, it is easy to cause resonance, which can lead to structural deformation," Wan explained to People's Daily Online.

At the end of the day, the success of these panic and thrill-inducing walkways and bridges can only be measured by the brave souls eager to give them a go, and in turn convince the skeptics.

"I've been waiting for this day and finally it’s going to come true," said Weibo user MissMonsant. “The world's best. Let's come together on 20th of Aug, see you on the bridge!"

Another user, ankle_spanker, wrote, "How do I buy tickets? I’m waiting online."