In case you’re looking for something fun and a little adventurous to do this summer, you may want to keep the Grand Canyon’s transparent, glass bridge – the Grand Canyon Skywalk – in mind for your vacationing pleasure. The scenic attraction turned eight this year, as March 28, 2015 marked the 8th anniversary of its grand opening.
Flashback to twelve years ago, in the period from 2003 to 2007, when Giroux Glass proudly began installing the 83,000 pounds of glass used to build the bridge and make it the prominent attraction and engineering masterpiece that it is today. The Skywalk is a 70-foot, U-shaped, cantilevered system (a structure that projects horizontally into space, supported on only one end) which hovers 4,000 feet over the Western rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
Each of the 46 glass panels used to construct the Skywalk was custom-built to the highest standards for safety and clarity. The bridge deck consists of five composite layers of tempered glass, totaling nearly three inches thick. Rather than bringing in a large crane to replace the glass after general wear and tear such as scratching, each panel has a thin “sacrificial” layer of glass that can be removed and replaced by hand.
Each panel supports 100 pounds per square foot (equivalent to around 800 people), although a maximum of 120 people are allowed on the Skywalk at a time. And if you’re the kind of person who would be hanging onto the handrail for dear life as you venture out on the bridge, the five-foot high glass handrail was designed for high wind pressures and to match code prescribed railing loads, while being low enough so that guests can enjoy the view without feeling confined.
Maybe you’ve already experienced this magnificent glass bridge for yourself — but if you’re too nervous to walk on it, or you’re just curious about what it’s like, investigate the links and more information below. Reading more about it may be just what you need to get you over the edge . . . so to speak.
by Stephanie Lamb, Chief Operating Officer at Giroux Glass, Inc.
Stephanie has been a vital member of Giroux Glass’ executive team since 2000. Her construction expertise enables her to wholly understand and often predict customer requirements, and to effectively guide her Operations staff in each of the company’s four locations. She gladly welcomes your thoughts and comments, which can be emailed directly to [email protected].