- Switzerland lays claim to the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world
A record-breaking suspension bridge: the new “Charles Kuonen” bridge in the Swiss Alps, near the village of Randa in the Swiss Canton of Valais, is a record-breaking 494 metres long, 65 centimetres wide and 85 metres from the ground at its highest point and it connects Grächen and Zermatt on the Europaweg foot trail. So it has stolen the record held until 29/7/2017 by the cable suspension bridge over the Rappbode valley, which opened a few months ago in Harz, Germany and is “only” 483 metres long - 11 metres shorter than the Swiss bridge.
Still, it wasn't so much a record that was being sought in the Canton of Valais as the reopening of the “Europaweg” foot trail, which was constructed in 1997 and takes two days to hike, offering scenic views of some of Switzerland’s highest peaks including the famed Matterhorn, as well as the Dom and the Bernese Alps. The old suspended bridge was closed in 2010 after a rock-fall.
The new bridge, completed in just 10 weeks, with the generous support of private donors, including entrepreneur and philosopher Charles Kuonen as the main sponsor, uses innovative technology, developed by Swissrope/Lauber AG: this is a system of amortised suspensions of the 8-tonne structure of steel cables that considerably reduces oscillation of the bridge, making it easier to cross.
But take heart, even though the new, record-breaking suspension bridge doesn't swing for pedestrians, crossing this superlative landmark will still give you the thrill of the gorge, clearly visible through the metal grating floor.
Project: Swissrope/Lauber AG
Location: Zermatt, Switzerland
Images: Valentin Flauraud
Length 494 m
Highest point 85 m
Width 65 cm
Rope diametre 53 mm
Weight of the ropes 8 t
Find out more: www.europaweg.ch www.zermatt.ch