Royal Gorge Bridge
Record: 384 m
Main Span Record: 268 m
Clearance below Record: 291 m
The Royal Gorge Bridge is a tourist attraction near Cañon City, Colorado within Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, a 360-acre (150 ha) amusement park located along the edge of the Royal Gorge around both ends of the bridge. The bridge crosses the gorge 955 feet (291 m) above the Arkansas River and held the record of highest bridge in the world from 1929 until 2001 when it was surpassed by the Liuguanghe Bridge in China. The Royal Gorge Bridge maintained the title of the world's highest suspension bridge until the Beipan River Guanxing Highway Bridge was completed in 2003, also in China. The bridge remains the highest bridge in the United States and was among the ten highest bridges in the world until 2012.
The main span of the bridge between the towers is 880 feet (268 m), the total length is 1,260 feet (384 m), the width is 18 feet (5.5 m) and the towers are 150 feet (46 m) high. The steel base structure is covered with 1292 wooden planks. Passenger vehicles are allowed to cross the bridge, but only before park attractions open or after they close, times depending on season. Oversize vehicles, including large trucks, RVs and buses, are not permitted to cross.
The bridge was built in six months between June and November 1929 at a cost of $350,000. In 1931, the Incline Railway, or simply the Incline (also known as a funicular), was added beside the bridge to reach the bottom of the gorge. In the 1950s, a miniature railroad was built by the edge of the gorge and an aerial tram was opened in 1969. In the early 1980s, the bridge was renovated with new cable anchors, suspension rods and paint. A Skycoaster attraction was added in 2003, with riders being swung out over the edge of the gorge.
In June 2013, a wildfire destroyed most of the park's buildings and the aerial tram, and damaged the Incline. The bridge sustained only slight damage to the wooden deck and was otherwise undamaged, along with the Skycoaster. The park was rebuilt and partially reopened in August 2014. The park had a grand reopening in May 2015 with new gondolas and a new zip-line crossing the gorge on the east side of the bridge.