Switzerland has just built the longest hanging pedestrian bridge; constructor Theo Lauber has confirmed that the Guinness Book of Records indeed contacted him to verify the bridge breaks the previous record
Zermatt Tourist board, in the breathtaking Swiss Alps, officially announced the opening of the longest pedestrian bridge in the world to the public in a ceremony last Saturday. Called the Europabrüke, the inauguration saw keen hikers take to the almost half a kilometer long hanging bridge that only took the team from Swissrope a mere 57 days to construct. Drone footage was able to capture the enormity of the structure, which is actually only a little over half a meter wide.
At a length of 494 meters, the bridge breaks the previous record. It surpasses in length a 405-metre long bridge in Reutte, Austria. The Austrian bridge is still 110 meters higher off the ground than this new Swiss bridge. Swissrope suspended Europabrüke 85 meters above the Grabengufer ravine. This famous ravine sits at the foot of the tallest mountain in Switzerland, the Dom.
Dramatic views of the Swiss Alps
The Europabrüke replaces a previous bridge constructed in July 2010. The orginaly Europabrüke was destroyed by falling stones only two months after it opened. Since the destruction of the earlier bridge, hikers needed to trek an extra kilometer on the two-day long hiking trail between Grächen and Zermatt.
Hikers needed to descend half a kilometer into the ravine, and then ascend another half kilometer to the other side. Additionally, the new bridge now provides an even more dramatic view of the Matterhorn mountain.
In an interview conducted by the Frankfurter Allgemeine, Johannes Ritter questioned constructor Theo Lauber about his creative process for the bridge. Lauber explained the technicalities involved in making such a long bridge so stable.
Even during a gale force wind, a specially constructed hydraulic vibration, and the dampening system maintains the steadiness of the bridge. He incorporated these systems into 8 tonnes of cables that suspend the pedestrian bridge above the ravine.
Guarantee of high safety standards
According to Lauber, the bridge is also safe for pedestrians to cross during a thunderstorm. Lauber drew an analogy to how birds can sit on a high-voltage wire.
Similarly, the bridge would only be dangerous if a hiker was to have one foot on the ground and one on the bridge. And at 85 meters of the ground, that is not going to happen. As an added safety measure, Lauber installed insulating wood poles at both ends of the bridge.
Additionally, Lauber explained that the bridge has a payload of 250 people. He added that due to the location of the bridge within the two-day hiking trail, it was unlikely that the bridge would ever experience that many pedestrians at one time.