China’s record-breaking glass bridge closed just 13 days after its opening, upsetting thousands of visitors.
The world’s highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge suspended over China’s Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon opened to the public on August 20. The six-meter-wide bridge is 430 meters long and made up of 99 glass panels. Nestled between two cliffs in Zhangjiajie Park, the bridge offers spectacular views of the canyon that is believed to have inspired scenery in the sci-fi movie “Avatar.”
Unfortunately, visitors aren’t going to be able to enjoy those views. On Thursday, park management announced the bridge’s closure on its official Weibo account and apologized for the inconvenience. According to CNN, the announcement stated that the government had suspended operations of the bridge on Sept. 2 due to “urgency to improve and update” the attraction.
During this time, the area will be undergoing renovations to improve its infrastructure including its parking lots, ticket-booking systems and customer services. A spokesperson from the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon’s marketing and sales department told CNN:
“We’re overwhelmed by the volume of visitors.”
The capacity of the glass bridge is a maximum of 8,000 visitors per day, but demand was ten times that. Apparently, the bridge has attracted a massive amount of tourism to the canyon since its opening.
Though there haven’t been too many specific details regarding the bridge’s closure, the spokesperson assured that there have been no accidents or problems such as cracks or broken parts of the structure.
Officials have not offered information about when it will reopen either. However, Chinese news site China.org.cn reported the bridge will need to pass an official evaluation before it does.
The news is unwelcome for visitors who have gone out of their way to add the attraction to their travel plans. Park officials had originally proposed a Sept. 5 closing date to accommodate travel agencies who have already booked visits to the Grand Canyon.
One Weibo user XiaoMomoYa commented on the inconvenience:
“I have booked everything and now you are saying you are closed… Are you kidding me?
Others appear to be more understanding for the reasons behind the closure. User Fashiwanying wrote:
“The Scenic Area is deficient. There’s trash everywhere and no bottled water for sale. It’s right to reopen only after they’ve cleaned up the place.”