The world’s highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge has been closed in China just 13 days after opening, because it was reportedly “overwhelmed” by visitors.
The 1,410ft (430 metre) bridge, which opened on August 20 and spans the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, in Hunan province, has a capacity of 8,000 visitors a day, but total demand is reported to be 10 times as much.
“We’re overwhelmed by the volume of visitors,” a spokesman from the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon’s marketing and sales department told CNN, explaining the bridge was the area’s main attraction.
Designed by the Israeli architect Haim Dotan, the bridge leaves pedestrians suspended nearly 1,000ft (300 metres) above the canyon, allowing visitors to look down into the chasm through 99 triple-layered glass panels.
He stressed “there was no problem” regarding the safety of the structure and there had been no accidents.
In a statement on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo, the bridge’s management said the government decided to suspend operations due to the “urgency to improve and update” the attraction.
Parts of the infrastructure that will be improved include its car parks, ticket-booking system, and customer service.
It did not say when it would reopen and apologised for the inconvenience. The post said tour groups who were intending to see the bridge at the weekend might have “discretionary admission”.
“I have booked everything and now you are saying you are closed … Are you kidding me?” wrote one Weibo user in response to the official statement.
The canyon is said to have inspired the landscapes of the film Avatar. The bridge opened amid a blaze of publicity, with officials carrying out a number of stunts to prove the strength of the structure.
In July, designers drove a Volvo XC-90 SUV across it, and workmen pounded the glass panels with sledgehammers to show how safe it is.