(Pictures) Glass bridge : China opens world’s highest and longest

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Visitors walk across a glass-floor suspension bridge in Zhangjiajie in southern China's Hunan Province Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016Image copyrightEPA

It’s finally happened.

The much-heralded “world’s highest and longest” glass-bottomed bridge has opened to visitors in central China.

It connects two mountain cliffs in what are known as the Avatar mountains (the film was shot here) in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province.

People wait for a safety test on the bridgeImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThose brave enough have the chance to conquer the world’s longest and highest glass bridge

Bridge in numbers

Completed in December, the 430m-long bridge cost $3.4m (£2.6m) to build and stands 300m above ground, state news agency Xinhua reported.

It has been paved with 99 panes of three-layered transparent glass.

And according to officials, the 6m-wide bridge – designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan – has already set world records for its architecture and construction.

The year of glass bridges

Glass bridges in China have been a popular craze for the daring photo opportunities they provide. Events like mass yoga displays and even weddings have been staged on several such bridges.

One couple celebrated their special day by dangling in mid-air from a bridge in Pingjiang, also located in Hunan province.

A newly married couple is lowered from a glass bridge during a promotional event in Pingjiang, Hunan provinceImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionIt’s not everyone’s idea of a special day – but this couple staged a daring shoot

But how safe is it?

This was the question on everyone’s minds as the city geared up for the bridge’s official opening.

But officials have staged high-profile events to try and reassure the public of the bridge’s safety.

Officials sent in sledgehammers and even drove a car, filled with passengers, across the bridge earlier this year.

The BBC’s Dan Simmons was invited to take a bash at the bridge

Media captionDan Simmons tests the world’s longest glass-bottomed bridge
A man swings a sledgehammer at the floor of the glass bridgeImage copyrightAP
Image captionPark authorities deliberately cracked the glass with sledgehammers
A car filled with passengers drives across the bridgeImage copyrightAP
Image captionAnd for good measure, they drove a car full of people over it

Park officials have said a maximum of 8,000 visitors will be allowed on the bridge each day.

So those wanting to add another thrill to their bucket list are strongly encouraged to book their slots in advance.

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