‘Overwhelming Demand’ Shuts Glass-Bottomed Bridge

Record-breaking Chinese bridge built to handle 8K visitors per day
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2016 6:03 AM CDT
‘Overwhelming Demand’ Shuts Glass-Bottomed Bridge
Visitors walk across a glass-floor suspension bridge in Zhangjiajie in southern China's Hunan in August. The bridge closed Friday after demand was too high, officials said.   (Chinatopix via AP)

China’s newest attraction is simply too popular for its own good. Officials closed the world’s tallest and longest bridge only 13 days after it opened because demand has been too great. "We're overwhelmed by the volume of visitors," a spokesperson for the attraction told CNN. The 1,410-foot bridge hangs 1,000 feet above the stunning Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, setting for the movie Avatar. At 20 feet wide and with a glass bottom offering staggering views, the bridge in Hunan Province has drawn tens of thousands of thrill-seekers since it opened Aug. 20. Capacity is limited to 8,000 people per day but the demand has been 10 times as high, CNN reports. (It costs $20 to go on the bridge.) A statement via the Weibo blog site said management shut the bridge on Friday due to "urgency to improve and update" it.

Officials told CNN the bridge isn’t compromised and there have been no accidents. They have boasted previously about the span’s fortitude, driving a car across it, and inviting people to take a crack at the glass with a sledgehammer. (Though stiletto heels are not allowed.) Designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan from 99 three-layered glass panes, the bridge was set to serve as a catwalk for fashion shows and as the base for the world's highest bungee-jumping site.There was no word on when the bridge would reopen, but disappointed visitors have other glass-bottomed options in China such as Haohan Qiao, or “Brave Man’s Bridge,” in Shiniuzhai National Geological Park, the Los Angeles Times reports. (Though a panel once shattered in that span.)

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