The premise behind the Skywalk was to design something iconic that would contribute to the long-term benefit of the Hualapai Nation. The 70-foot U-shaped cantilevered bridge along the west rim of the Grand Canyon, hovers 4,000-feet above the majestic canyon floor. A 25,000 square foot visitor’s center integrated the bridge with a gift shop and visitors center.
Structural engineering design included inner and outer box beams built up from two-inch thick plates, creating hollow shapes of 32 inches wide and 72 inches deep. The beams were designed to resist wind and vibration forces determined by RWDI of Ontario, Canada, and anchored deep into the native rock with large groups of drilled micro-piles. The 10 feet by 2 inch wide bridge deck consisted of five composite layers of tempered glass, totaling 2.79 inches thick. The 5 foot high glass handrail has been designed for high wind pressures as well as code prescribed railing loads.
Civil engineering design included grading plan preparation for the bridge and visitor’s center. Civil assistance was also provided by the Lochsa team for the water system (storage and pressurization) and the sewage collection system (gravity piping and waste storage tank) at the remote location. Great care was taken to minimize the effect to the natural setting as well as to maintain the tribal cultural well-being.
Note: Special thanks to Lincoln Electric for the use of their video.