The glass bridge at Akkulam Tourist Village, a popular tourist destination in Thiruvananthapuram, has suffered continuous cracks on various glass lites on the viewing deck. Photo: Google Earth.

Saint-Gobain has been asked to conduct a chemical analysis of a 170-foot-long glass bridge in southern India due to recurring cracks.

The glass bridge at Akkulam Tourist Village, a popular tourist destination in Thiruvananthapuram, has suffered continuous cracks on various glass lites on the viewing deck. Saint-Gobain supplied the glass. Each lite has three layers, is 36 mm thick and weighs around one ton.

The New Indian Express reports that the president of the Vattiyoorkavu Youth Brigade Entrepreneur Cooperative Society (VYBECOS), which conceived the project, asked Saint-Gobain officials for a detailed lab analysis to check the quality of the glass bridge’s lites. The outlet states that authorities are exploring options to enhance safety by adding a new safety coat.

Officials say the first crack appeared on the glass bridge on April 30, triggering widespread allegations against VYBECOS. Reports indicate that the company had no prior experience implementing adventure tourism infrastructure projects.

The latest incident involving a glass bridge follows recent failures, including the malfunction of a glass bridge in Indonesia, which shattered in late 2023, killing one tourist and injuring three others. The bridge failed due to uncommonly thin glass, measuring just 1.2 centimeters. Julia Schimmelpenningh, architectural industry technical manager for the Advanced Material Interlayers business of Eastman Chemical Company, told USGlass that glass floors should be designed with a minimum of three layers, two of which can support the load and the third redundant in case of breakage.

The Indonesia incident followed the failure of a glass-bottomed bridge in 2021 in Northeastern China, which stranded a man 328 feet above the ground. The bridge’s glass failed following a storm that generated wind gusts of up to 93 mph, blowing out several glass lites.

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