John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The 1,410-foot-long structure hovers like a celestial aqueduct above a verdant gorge.
About 1,410 feet. That’s how far acrophobes would have to stumble with eyes closed if someone pushed them onto this just-opened glass bridge and made them walk to the other side.
Of course that probably won’t happen. China’s various glass bridges are meant for fun things like sightseeing and getting married, and only occasionally for feeling fear when the floor cracks. Authorities have tried to rule out that hazard by having a man bang the bridge with a sledgehammer in June. It passed the test—a good thing, given it’s supposedly the longest and highest (at roughly 1,000 feet) glass pedestrian bridge on the planet.
Glass panels are set into its walkway, giving visitors vertigo-inducing views and photo opportunities of the canyon below.
Steel beams support the structural glass plates, which Tel Aviv-based Dotan used to make the bridge as “invisible.”
“The Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge was designed to be as invisible as possible—a white bridge disappearing into the clouds,” said Dotan.
Aside from delighting and terrifying tourists, the bridge’s uses include a fashion-show runway and a platform for bungee jumps. Have a gander: