In a bit of disconcerting news, Beijing has decided to suspend the construction of all scenic glass walkways because it turns out that no one is really sure who is supposed to be in charge of supervising their safety.
Over the past few years, glass walkways, bridges and viewing platforms have become all the rage at mountainous tourist sites around China who hope to draw in more visitors with the allure of spectacular views and dangerous drops.
But it turns out that visitors may be in more actual danger than they had assumed. Song Yu, the director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development, told the Beijing Morning News that it is not clear who is responsible for supervising the safety of the growing number of glass-bottomed structures around Beijing. Thus, their construction has been suspended for the time being.
Beijing already happens to be home to the world’s largest glass sightseeing platform which opened last year. Song said that scenic areas with existing glass walkways ought to “introduce sound safety management systems and be clear about their responsibilities.” Which we’d hope they were already doing before.
It’s not clear if this gap in oversight applies to the rest of the country as well. In 2015, a glass-bottomed bridge in Henan province cracked only two weeks after opening, sparking fears about the safety of these glass structures.
To allay any concerns before opening its world’s longest and highest glass-bottomed bridge last year, Zhangjiajie carried out a series of very public stress tests incorporating sledgehammers and SUVs. However, less than two weeks after opening, the bridge was suddenly closed down because too many people had wanted to walk on it.
The 430-meter-long glass bridge then reopened the following month after a “safety overhaul.”
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