World's longest glass bridge ready to open in Hebei

PHOTO: China Daily/Asia News Network

The world's longest glass bridge will open to the public on Sunday in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province.

The bridge, which stretches 488 meters, is 2 meters wide and hangs 218 meters (about 66 stories) above the valley floor between two steep cliffs in the Hongyagu Scenic Area in Pingshan county.

It is paved with 1,077 panes of transparent glass, each 4 centimeters thick, and weighs a total of 70 metric tons.

The sky bridge is designed to swing a little while visitors walk to its centre, creating a thrill for visitors, according to Hebei Bailu Group, the local tourism company that built the bridge.

Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

While walking on the bridge, tourists can enjoy the surrounding Hongyagu scenery, which boasts a unique geographic landscape with mountain views, natural waterfalls, ancient towns and temples.

The bridge was designed to support up to 2,000 people, though it's expected that only 500 will be on it at one time, said Liu Qiqi, director in charge of construction.

"The bridge's load-carrying capacity is as much as 3.5 times the country's standard for bridges. Besides, we only allow 500 people on it at most," Liu said.

It took a year and a half to build the bridge, which can resist the strongest winds.

Many glass-floor bridges and skywalks have been built around China in recent years. A bridge 430 meters long and 6 meters wide opened last year in the Grand Canyon Scenic Area in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province. It was said to be the longest and highest bridge of its kind in the world.

But the one at Hongyagu is the only one in China supported by structures beneath the span, Liu said.

About 300 kilometers southwest of downtown Beijing, the Hongyagu Scenic Area is near Xibaipo, a popular visitor spot because of its revolutionary history. The leadership of the Communist Party of China was based there from May 1948 until early 1949.

Wang Mian, a Shijiazhuang resident, said she had planned to try the bridge on Sunday but is nervous just thinking about it.

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