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Gatlinburg SkyBridge reopens after guest cracks glass panel

Gatlinburg SkyLift Park closed the bridge Monday night after a guest cracked the protective outer-layer of a panel of the glass-bottom.

GATLINBURG, Tenn. — Cracked glass on a glass-bottom suspension bridge high in the mountains makes quite a headline. In truth, the story is not much of a cliffhanger.

The popular Gatlinburg Skybridge closed Monday night after a guest channeled their inner Pete Rose and attempted a "baseball-style slide" on the glass portion of the center of the bridge. A piece of metal on their clothes chipped the protective outer-layer of one of the thick glass panels.

Credit: WBIR
Crews removed the damaged panel Tuesday and replaced it temporarily with cedar planks.

"At no point in time was the guest in any danger," said Marcus Watson at the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park.  "Each panel has three layers. 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."

Credit: WBIR
Cedar Planks replaced one of the glass panels at the center of the Gatlinburg SkyBridge damaged by a visitor.

The SkyBridge reopened Tuesday morning around 30 minutes later than usual. Workers removed the damaged glass panel and replaced it with the same type of cedar planks that comprise 98 percent of the bridge.

The park does not know how long it will take for a new glass panel to arrive and be installed. 

The SkyLift Park has several signs warning guests not to run, jump, or bounce on the SkyBridge. 

"They were disobeying the rules," said Watson.  "Just common sense, anytime you do anything like that, nothing good can happen." 

Credit: WBIR
The Gatlinburg SkyBridge.

The bridge features three glass panels at its center, each measuring 5' x 5'. The park said 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.

No one was hurt and the park said no guests were in danger.

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