Gatlinburg SkyBridge Glass Panel Crack

By Marie

The popular Gatlinburg Skybrige, United States’ largest pedestrian suspension bridge, temporarily shut down Monday night after a guest did a “baseball-style slide” cracking the protective outer layer of one of three glass panel floors in the center of the bridge.

The tourist, who channeled their inner Mike Trout, had a piece of a metal object on the clothes and upon the impact of the slide, chipped the top layer glass at around 8:30 in the evening, a report said. 

The Gatlinburg Skylift Park posted on its official Facebook that the guest did not follow their “no running, jumping, or bouncing” rules. No one was hurt or injured and no guests were in danger, the release said.

The approximately 700-foot long bridge, which stretches across the Great Smokey Mountains’ valleys, highlights three 5 feet by 5 feet glass panels at its center, allowing the tourists to see the ground 140 feet below.

“The structural glass is three-ply with an upper layer serving solely as protection for the other layers and does not affect the structural integrity in any way. The damage to the panel was primarily cosmetic,” the Skybridge stated.

Photo Courtesy of News4 San Antonio

They added, “The top layer is more of a protective covering. Kind of like on an iPhone if you have a protective shield covering on the front. That layer cracked. And that’s actually what the top layer is supposed to do in a situation like that.”

Photo Courtesy of Interesting Engineering

Though the attraction does not know when the new glass panel will arrive and be installed, crews had already successfully removed the damaged glass panel and replaced it with cedar planks, similar to the material type of 98% of the bridge. 

The Skybridge reopened and resumed its normal operations Tuesday morning, 30 minutes later than usual.