Portugal opens the world’s longest suspended footbridge

The local mayor hopes to draw in tourists, but crossing the longest suspended footbridge in the world will test someone’s heads for heights when it officially opens in northern Portugal on Sunday.

It hangs on heavy steel cables stretched between V-shaped concrete towers and runs 516 meters (1700 feet) over a canyon, at a height of 175 meters.

Before Sunday’s official ceremony, people from the nearby town of Arouca were allowed to walk over the mega – structure’s transparent metal grille on Thursday.

Rui Brandao prefers not to look down but recommended the experience.

“I strongly advise you to come even if you have dizziness like me,” he said.

“I must say I have not felt it at all,” he claimed.

“The inauguration is important because it will enable us to resume our tourism activity,” Arouca Mayor Margarida Belem told AFPTV.

The bridge was a “fundamental attraction” for the region, the mayor said.

The structure named “516 Arouca” crosses the steep Paiva river gorge, which is already tense with about eight kilometers of wooden walkways.

“I live around here and when I first heard about the bridge project, I did not really believe it,” said Macio Soares.

“But today I am very proud to be here … it is a unique experience,” he added.

Arouca 516 breaks the record for the longest suspension bridge held since 2017 by the Charles Kuonen Bridge at Randa, in the Swiss Alps.


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