Have you heard of the Hundred Dragons Elevator? Also known as the Bailong Elevator. It is a glass elevator that is built into the rocky mountain range’s side. The range is comprised of thousands of sandstone columns that rise up for a couple of thousand feet and are located in Wulingyuan area of Zhangijiajie, Hunan Province, China. The construction began in 1999 at the height of 330 meters. The project was completed in 2002.
The project faced quite an opposition from certain environmental groups who were basing their argument on the World Heritage Site designation. The total investment for the project was $20 million. In order to build the Hundred Dragon Elevator, shafts and tunnels were dug into quartz sandstone column that was chosen very carefully and housed the elevator. The region is home to 5 million visitors every year and was the project suffered from excessive tourism as well, however, the show went on.
Once completed, the project managed to bag three Guinness Book of World Records awards; tallest full-exposure outdoor elevator, tallest double-deck sightseeing elevator and fastest passenger traffic elevator with the largest capacity for carrying payload. The project has also undergone its fair amount of setbacks, it had to be shut down following its opening in 2002 due to safety concerns.
The project was also an achievement for a number of Chinese contractors and suppliers. For instance, Qinhuangdao Photoelectric managed the elevator load weighing control system along with VIC card management, earthquake detector, energy saving devices and entrance detectors for the elevator. All in all, it is one engineering marvel that deserves to be seen first hand.