Thursday 27 April 2017

World's highest glass-bottomed bridge in China closes two weeks after opening

Organisers said they were closing the bridge for maintenance due to an 'overwhelming number of visitors'

Alexandra Sims

The world's highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge in China has been forced to close for maintenance less than two weeks after opening to the public.

The six-metre-wide bridge is 430m long and spans a valley connecting two mountains in Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province.

Designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan, the see-through floor allows visitors to peer 300m below onto the valley's lush mountains, caves and waterfalls.

Progress of the building of the £2.6 million structure was followed closely by Chinese media and it was opened on 20 August.

But just 13 days after opening, organisers announced they were closing the structure after an overwhelming number of visitors meant the bridge required urgent maintenance work.

"We're overwhelmed by the volume of visitors," a spokesman from the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon’s marketing and sales department told CNN.

He said the bridge could hold 8,000 people a day but demand had been 10 times greater.

The bridge's management announced the closure on Thursday on its official Weibo account - a Chinese blogging site.

It said that due to the "urgency to improve and update" the attraction, the government decided to suspend operations on 2 September.

No details were given as the when the bridge will reopen and it apologised for any inconvenience.

During the closure, the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon is also planning to improve the attraction's infrastructure, including the car park, ticketing system and customer service.

The closure has been heavily criticized, with many people taking to social media to voice their frustration at the change to their travel plans. “I’m on the train right now. I can’t change my travel plans or get a refund… You are the world’s number one cheat," one social media user said, the Guardian reports.

“You… have cheated customers,” said another.

China has a number of glass-bottomed bridges and walkways.

The managers of the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon bridge were clear to emphasise its safety after a glass-bottomed walkway attached to the side of a mountain in Yuntai Mountain, Henan Province cracked while terrified tourists were traversing it in October last year.

Independent News Service

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