The Grand Canyon's long-awaited Next Big Thing in roadside tourism is just about to debut. The Skywalk is a 70-foot, U-shaped steel walkway with a clear glass floor that cantilevers 70 feet straight out over the abyss of the Grand Canyon. Walk out and look between your shoes at the Colorado River 4,000 feet below.
Next week, engineers will begin rolling out the horseshoe-shaped observation deck on steel rollers over concrete tracks. "It's almost like pyramid technology," Daniel Kay, the project's lead publicist, said in a phone interview. It will take two days to get it all the way out and bolt it to more than 400 concrete-and-rebar anchor points set in the canyon wall. The whole structure contains more than a million pounds of steel.
The $30 million walkway is on the Hualapai reservation, 120 miles east of Las Vegas, about four hours west of Flagstaff. A footpath may not be as disruptive as a casino, but not everyone loves the Hualapai's innovative approach to economic development. To some, the Skywalk is a chance for a Zen-like mid-air stroll over one of nature's greatest landscapes. To others, it's a ticky-tacky abomination against, well, one of nature's greatest landscapes, a kind of glass-bottom boat ride through a seven-wonders setting.
In any case, it's coming. After a ceremonial first walk on March 20 (with astronaut Buzz Aldrin taking one of the first sky walks), the place opens to the public on March 28. Tickets will be $25 each. Go here for more information.
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