Monday, 11 August 2008

Grand Canyon Skywalk

The Grand Canyon's Skywalk has been inaugurated with hundreds of invited guests getting stunning views over the canyon through its glass walkway.

Rising 4,000ft (1,220m) from the canyon's floor and 70ft (20m) beyond its rim, the Skywalk is being described as an engineering first.

Visitors will have to pay $25 to use the gangway, on top of the fee for entering the national park.

The bridge will be able to sustain winds in excess of 100mph (161km/h), as well as an 8.0-magnitude earthquake within 50 miles (80.5km).

Las Vegas businessman David Jin raised the money to build the Skywalk which was given to the Hualapai in exchange for a percentage of the profits.

Member of the Hualapai Indian Reservation blesses the sky at the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

Dedicated on March 20 and opened eight days later, the skywalk resides at the Grand Canyon West on the Hualapai Indian Reservation in Arizona. The U-shaped observation platform is ringed by all-glass flooring and is suspended 4,000 feet above the Colorado River.

The horseshoe-shaped Grand Canyon Skywalk gives visitors a view that is three times farther from the ground below than the observation deck at the top of the Empire State Building.

To gain access to the $40 million glass and steel platform, travelers must pay $25 per person -- plus the cost of a Grand Canyon West entrance package -- for a total of about $75.

The skywalk is an engineering marvel, constructed of a million pounds of steel and 90 tons of tempered glass. For now, it's drawing relatively few tourists.

The Grand Canyon, long a symbol of the grandeur of America's landscapes, is more than 200 miles long.

The Construction

Construction of the Skywalk began in March 2004 - and will open to the public on 28 March with 120 people allowed on the platform at any one time.

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