Safety Test: China’s giant glass bridge hit with sledgehammer by BBC Technology Reporter

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The world’s longest glass suspension bridge has opened in China’s Shiniuzhai National Park in the picturesque Hunan province. Known as Haohan Qiao — or Brave Men’s bridge — the 590-feet-high construction spans 984 feet in length and was originally made of wood. According to a report from the South China Morning Post, park managers added a section of glass to the bridge last year, and liked it so much they decided to transform the entire structure.

A team of 11 engineers carried out the work, adding new steel cables and struts for support before replacing the wooden slats with panes of glass, doubled up to give a thickness of 24 millimeters (0.94 inches). “No matter how the tourists jump on the bridge we built, it will be fine,” said Yang Guohong, one of the engineers involved in the project, according to the Daily Mail. “The steel structures beneath the bridge is incredibly dense so even if the glass gets broken, visitors won’t fall down.”

These sorts of skywalks have become increasingly common in recent years. The Grand Canyon has a horseshoe-shaped glass-bottomed walkway that curves out into the void and back, and there are also attractions like The Ledge at Chicago’s Willis Tower — a small glass balcony built into the skyscraper’s observation floor. (The latter gave tourists a scare in May last year when cracks appeared in the glass, but officials said it was only the scratch-proof top layer — not the load bearing glass itself — that was damaged.) The craze isn’t over, either. An even larger glass-bottomed bridge is currently being constructed in the same region of China as the Haohan Qiao. When finished, it will reportedly span 380 meters, host fashion shows, and even incorporate the world’s highest bungee jump, reports CNN. Just in case you weren’t scared enough walking over it.

All pictures via Getty Images and China Foto Press
 

China glass bridge Getty
China glass bridge Getty
China glass bridge Getty
China glass bridge Getty
China glass bridge Getty
China glass bridge Getty
China glass bridge Getty

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