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Skywalk: 4000 feet and over the Grand Canyon edge

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A struggling Indian tribe is hoping to change its fortunes by luring tourists out over the edge of the Grand Canyon on a glass-bottom observation deck 4,000 feet above the Colorado River.

It's called the Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped walkway that will jut from the canyon's lip and offer the kind of straight-down, vertigo-inducing views that had previously been available only to the likes of Wile E. Coyote.

"We have to do something, and this is something spectacular," said Sheri Yellowhawk, a former tribal councilwoman overseeing the project.

But the $30 million Skywalk, financed by a Las Vegas businessman and set to open in March, has also ignited a debate among Hualapai elders who question whether the prospect of riches is worth disturbing sacred ground.

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Planned as an audacious feat of engineering, the Skywalk will be cantilevered 70 feet out past the canyon's limestone walls. It will be open to the sky, with glass walls and a glass floor.

It will be supported by steel beams anchored 46 feet into the rock on the lip of the canyon. At 4,000 feet above the canyon floor, it will give visitors a vantage point more than twice as high as the world's tallest buildings. At that height, the Colorado River will be just a thin brown ribbon.

Architect Mark Johnson said the Skywalk will be built to withstand canyon winds of 100 mph and will be capable of holding a few hundred people without bending. It will have shock absorbers to keep it from wobbling up and down like a diving board and making people woozy.

"Hopefully it will give people some security," Johnson said. "They've got a little meat under them."

Construction began in April 2005.

The Grand Canyon Trust, one of the chief protectors of the canyon, has not raised any environmental or aesthetic objections to the Skywalk, which will be almost invisible from a distance because it will be mostly see-through, and will look puny against the gargantuan canyon walls.

"This is the future of the Hualapai nation," said Allison Raskansky, a Las Vegas public relations specialist for the project. "This is a view you cannot get at the national park."

Skywalk

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I received an e-mail about this several weeks ago with the drawings of what it looks like. If anyone is interested in what the bridge looks like, PM me with an e-mail address and I will forward the e-mail.

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Planned as an audacious feat of engineering, the Skywalk will be cantilevered 70 feet out past the canyon's limestone walls. It will be open to the sky, with glass walls and a glass floor.

A cool idea, but something like this would be more fun.

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I received an e-mail about this several weeks ago with the drawings of what it looks like. If anyone is interested in what the bridge looks like, PM me with an e-mail address and I will forward the e-mail.

I found this picture.

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I found this picture.

That link doesn't work. Try this one.

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A cool idea, but something like this would be more fun.

I've been to Royal George, a beautiful place. But, that "ride" looks absolutely terrifying...

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