Located 4,000 feet above the Colorado River and Canyon floor and weighing over 1.2 million pounds, it took more than one million pounds of steel and 83,000 pounds of glass to construct. The bridge is 25 feet wide overall and extends in a horse-shoe shape 70 feet over the rim of the canyon.
In its brief history the Skywalk has garnered numerous accolades and awards and has supported a diverse range of headline-grabbing events including recently the world’s highest couture fashion show (by British impresario and model, Jessica Minh Anh last year); a zombie ‘Thriller’ dance routine; the BBC’s ‘Nina and the Neurons’ children’s programme; ‘Best New Bridge’ by USA’s prestigious Travel and Leisure magazine, and was the subject of a dedicated National Geographic documentary programme on the marvels of its construction.
In 2009 a replica celebrating its construction was installed at the airport in Cologne, Germany. A brief video of the first visitors to experience Skywalk in 2007 can be seen at http://www.grandcanyonwest.com/skywalktour.php
In May 2011 engineers replaced for the first time the bridge’s 46 Saint-Gobain Diamante low-iron glass panels from Germany – each weighing 1,800 pounds.
Each specially manufactured pane is two and a half inches thick and comprises five individual glass sheets bonded together and is designed to withstand high winds. Every floor pane can support 100 pounds per square foot (equivalent to over 822 people weighing 91 kgs each or 71 747 aircraft) but only 120 visitors are allowed on the bridge at any one time.
The bridge is easily accessed by air via the Grand Canyon West Airport or – more popularly – by car from Las Vegas over a 120 mile road. Paved for most of the way, 10 miles of Diamond Creek Bar Road will be completed before the end of 2014 to allow for a smooth drive the remaining all the way. Skywalk cost US$31 million to build and is visited by over 200,000 tourists a year.