Tourists walk on the glass suspension bridge at Hongyagu scenic spot in Pingshan County, north China's Hebei Province. Picture: Xinhua/Liu Peiran
Tourists walk on the glass suspension bridge at Hongyagu scenic spot in Pingshan County, north China's Hebei Province. Picture: Xinhua/Liu Peiran

WATCH: China's glass bridges turn out to be costly mistake

By Staff reporter Time of article published Jan 3, 2020

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China's obsession with glass walkways has come back to haunt the Asian country. 

Safety fears have forced the closure of a number of glass-bottomed tourist attractions, including the 488m-long Hongyagu glass suspension bridge - billed as the world's longest.

But there are signs that this tourism boom is starting to crack, literally. According to Bloomberg, in 2014, a mountainside glass walkway cracked under the weight of too many hikers. 

2015 saw a glass bridge fractured and had to be closed after a visitor dropped a thermos on it. A year later, the Zhangjiajie Bridge had to be closed after it was mobbed by visitors far in excess of its designed capacity, a mere 13 days after opening.

Hongyagu glass suspension bridge opened on December 24, 2017. Not for the faint-hearted, the deliberate sway was designed to unnerve visitors to this 488-metre-long bridge which has an entirely glazed walkway so they can also admire the 218-metre drop.

As of October 2019, China has shut all 32 of its glass attractions - including bridges, walkways and viewing decks - as safety checks are carried out.

Things took a turn for the worse when one tourist died and six others were injured after they fell off a glass slide in Guangxi province, BBC News reported.

In 2015, a glass skywalk in Henan province cracked despite being open for only two weeks.

After the closures, many took to social media site Weibo applauding the closures, with one saying it was "about time safety was addressed".

"I don't really understand why there are so many glass bridges recently. It's a waste of money," said one post.

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