The World’s Largest Pedestrian Bridge
What’s the last best place for the world’s largest pedestrian bridge? If your answer is suspended 500 feet over a river gorge, you may have a new post-Covid bucket list destination.
That is the predicament for the newly-opened 516 Arouca, which this week began accepting thrill-seekers interested in walking over its 1,693 foot span.
The bridge, which sits over Portugal’s Paiva River, features a mesh tray offering views of the surrounding Arouca Geopark, a UNESCO-affiliated institution that includes a 10th Century monastery, quartz veins and many other breathtaking natural views. Visitors to the bridge can feel somewhat at ease running their hands up the steel cable that connects each side to two massive v-shaped concrete towers built by Portugese construction firm Conduril in collaboration with studio Itecons, which was responsible for its design.
The project costs ran north of €2.3 million and took exactly three years to complete, opening at a perfect time to revitalize a region whose economy has been deeply impacted by the pandemic.
“Going through it will certainly be a remarkable and memorable experience,” Arouca’s Mayor Margarida Belem said in a statement.
The bridge itself is only slightly longer than Switzerland’s Charles Kounen Suspension Bridge that opened in 2017 and is significantly larger than the previous record holder, Japan’s Kokone Yume Bridge, which measures up 412 feet shorter than 516 Arouca.
Tickets to the death-defying walkway run around €12 and can be purchased ahead of time for the approximately 10-minute trek across the 127 panels leading visitors from end to end overlooking a wooden pathway situated directly beneath it that had to close last year owing to pandemic-related restrictions.
“There were many challenges that we had to overcome, but we did it,” Belem told Reuters. “There’s no other bridge like this one in the world.”