China debuted its first all-glass suspension bridge in late September, a dizzying span surrounded by the dramatic topography of Hunan Province. But not all glass walkways are created equal.
Travelers with a fear of heights may want to steer clear of China’s newest attraction. The recently opened Haohan Qiao, or “Brave Men’s Bridge,” in Shiniuzai National Geological Park in Hunan Province boasts a 900-foot span of glass walkway nearly 600 feet above a sheer drop between two cliffs. The region’s geologic formations are said to be the inspiration for the scenery in James Cameron’s film Avatar.
It is China’s first all-glass suspension bridge.
Though it will not be the last;Wired reports that another glass bridge—a span to cross a 1,200-foot canyon in Zhangjiajie National Forest—is under construction and due to open later this year in the same province.
These are only the latest additions to a growing trend of vertigo-inducing tourist attractions. Recent years have seen the debuts of the Grand Canyon’s Skywalk, the Jasper National Park Glacier Skywalk, the “Void” glass box at Aiguille du Midi in the French Alps, the Tokyo SkyTree with its glass floor panels, and new glass floor sections installed at the Eiffel Tower. Even the Malaysian island of Langkawi has gotten in on the glass-bottomed craze, adding sections of glass flooring across the span of the curved, 410-feet-long Sky Bridge which connects the peaks of two mountains.
Updated 10/7/15. Only twice has the fear of falling through nearly been realized. In May of 2014, the glass floor of one of the “Ledge” glass box balconies atop Chicago’s Willis Tower cracked, prompting the attraction to close for inspection, later reopening with new panels in place and protective coating applied. And today in China’s Henan province, a u-shaped glass walkway that juts out from Yuntai Mountain started to crack, according tonews.com.au, prompting a few terrifying moments as people ran off the bridge. Just one of the three layers of glass fractured, but the walkway is closed to the public for further inspection.
October 07, 2015