China. – If we were to define a trend that has marked tourism in China in recent years (before the Covid-19 pandemic, of course), we would have to talk about crystal bridges. In the last lustro alone, two buildings have broken world records for their extension. And, a couple of months ago, a new bridge unbanked them.
At 526 meters, the glass bridge built over the Lianjiang River broke the Guinness World Record as the longest in the world. It is found in Guangzhou Province, southeastern Asia.
It was created as a tourist attraction to appreciate the natural landscape of Huangchuan Three Gorges, a section of the Lianjiang River characterized by three spectacular ravine. The structure is suspended 201 meters above the body of water. The Architectural Design & Research Institute study at Zhejiang University used three layers of glass 4.5 centimeters thick to make up the bridge floor, according to the Dezeen website. It also has a lustrous finish and high transparency, so that when you stand on it you have the feeling of floating over the abyss.
As you can see in the images, the bridge is irregular in its width. It was designed with four sections almost nine meters wide to incorporate viewpoints so that more people can enjoy the experience or take photos. In total, 500 people fit on the bridge.
For the bridge to be safe it had to be taken into account that this Chinese region has a typhoon season in the summer, according to the Design Boom website. Several tests were conducted with strong wind simulations to measure vibration and key aspects in the design and maintenance of the structure.
The fashion of bridges
According to the BBC, until last year there were two thousand 300 glass bridges built throughout China, as well as various walkways and slides with the same material but not counted.
The trend began in 2016, when zhangjiajie Bridge opened to the public, which at the time was the longest in the world at 430 meters. It has a height of 300 meters and the wooded landscape that surrounds it is famous for its rock pillars that served as inspiration for the film «Avatar». It was so successful that it had to close within two weeks of its opening because it was oversteered by the public. The title was snatched from him in 2018, with the opening of the Hongyagu Bridge. This walkway covers 488 meters long and is suspended at 218 meters.
This type of attraction is made to encourage domestic tourism in China and attract those looking for adrenaline.
However, in October 2019 several media outlets reported that 32 bridges and glass attractions had closed in China’s Hebei province since the previous year for safety testing; among them, the famous Hongyagu Bridge. This and other provinces of the Asian country have taken preventive measures because several accidents have been reported in this type of tourist attractions.