This year marks the 10th anniversary of the majestic Grand Canyon Skywalk, a structure that Giroux Glass proudly worked on and which opened to the public on March 28, 2007. The horizontal cantilever bridge juts out over the west side of the Grand Canyon in Arizona in a curved U-shape that gives visitors a sweeping view of the canyon below. Pedestrians can walk 70 feet out past the cliff’s edge and stand 4,000 feet above the Colorado River.
The Skywalk contains 46 custom-built glass panels that are almost three inches thick and weigh a total of 83,000 pounds. They contain a thin removable layer for maintenance purposes that make it much easier to replace when scratched. The glass walls surrounding the walkway stand five to seven feet high, protecting the visitors while also giving them an unobstructed view of the canyon’s beauty.
For those of you who might be a little scared to walk out onto a glass structure and see the expanse below you, don’t worry. The Skywalk was built to support an extremely heavy load. The glass panels themselves can support 100 pounds per square foot, totaling about 800 people per panel at one time, and the glass walls were built to withstand high velocity winds. The foundation can even withstand up to an 8.0 magnitude earthquake within 50 miles. So don’t worry!
This project was particularly interesting for the Giroux Glass team. As Stephanie Lamb, Giroux’s COO, put it, “Although the horseshoe-shaped structure was not yet cantilevered over the edge, the crew was literally working near the edge of the Grand Canyon. Travel to and from the jobsite was also extremely difficult. Every day our work crew had to travel a very narrow dirt road for 14 miles each way including all heavy equipment necessary to build the Skywalk. Giroux mobilized in December of 2006 and had to meet the grand opening date in March 2007, this being winter in Arizona dealing with rain and snow.” All of the team’s hard work paid off though! 10 years later and the Skywalk has seen over 2 million visitors!
You can check out more fun facts about the Skywalk at www.grandcanyonskywalk.com or watch this video about the engineering and design HERE. If you are ever near the Grand Canyon, definitely visit the Skywalk for a really amazing experience.