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Big jinx: new Portuguese bridge not for cowards

A narrow pedestrian bridge suspended over a river gorge that claims to be the longest pedestrian bridge in the world was officially opened in northern Portugal

AROUCA, Portugal – It is probably better if you stick to your girdle before looking down the Ponte de Arouca.

The narrow walkway suspended in a river gorge in northern Portugal claims to be the longest pedestrian bridge in the world and was officially opened on Sunday.

The Ponte de Arouca offers a half kilometer walk in its span, along a metal walkway suspended by cables. 175 meters below, the Paiva River flows through a waterfall.

Arouca is 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of Lisbon, the Portuguese capital. Local residents took a walk for the first time on the bridge last week. Many were thrilled – even when some admitted that it was a little unnerving to feel so tall and exposed.

Guinness World Records says on its website that the longest suspension bridge in the world for pedestrians is the Japanese Kokonoe Yume bridge, which opened in 2006 and stretches 390 meters (1,280 feet). But the Charles Kuonen suspension bridge, which opened in the Swiss Alps in 2017, defies that mark at 494 meters (1,621 feet).

The Arouca Bridge cost 2.3 million euros (US $ 2.8 million) to build. Children under 6 years old are not allowed and all visits will be accompanied by guides.

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