Exploration

Longest, Tallest Glass Bridge Will Have Crazy-High Swings

Because a glass bridge isn't scary enough, the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Bridge will have three swings for an extra thrill.

Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Official Channel, YouTube screenshot<br>

You must be this brave to walk across. The terrifying glass Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Bridge being built in China's Hunan province now is expected to have three swings attached to it. Clearly walking across the bridge, which spans a ravine 900 feet below or even bungee jumping off a platform might not be exciting enough for some people.

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One of the swings could end up being the longest in Asia -- just the latest record that the bridge designed by the architectural firm Haim Dotan is set to crush. In addition to hosting the world's highest bungee jump, bridge officials are calling it the longest (1,312 feet) and highest (984 feet) glass bridge anywhere in the world. The traverse is also being eyed as a catwalk for fashion shows, according to CNN.

"It's true that we will have a swing on the bridge and it's not a swing but three swings, including one giant swing which has a total length of about 150 meters to 170 meters," Joe Chen, the vice general manager of the Zhangjiajie Canyon Tourism Management Company, told Inhabitat. That's nearly 500 to 560 feet. Gulp.

Construction on the bridge was originally expected to be finished at the end of last year, but that got pushed back to May. Weather and, uh, a little bit of broken glass caused further delays this spring, Inhabitat reported, so it may not actually be ready until early next year.

Using glass like this is an architectural trend that seems unnecessarily challenging to me. I don't doubt the thrill factor attraction for visitors -- there's that slide planned for a tower in LA, the Skydeck in Chicago, and the glass floor at Toronto's CN Tower. Last fall, tourists stepped and crawled across Haohan Qiao (Brave Men's Bridge) in China's Shiniuzhai National Geological Park. The whole thing used to be wooden, CNN reported.

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But making these passages truly safe and weatherproof is incredibly tough. Two weeks after it opened, a glass walkway 3,540 miles above sea level that's suspended over a canyon at Yuntai Mountain Scenic Park in China developed cracks and had to be evacuated. Visitors rightfully freaked out. The cause was unclear.

With all the features planned around the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Bridge, I hope they take as long as they need to make it safe for anyone. Long, terrifying swings off the side included.

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