The architects may not have intended it, but a spectacular new step bridge spanning Norway’s Vøringsfossen waterfall looks a bit like a man who’s slipped, fallen and is dangling over the precipice.
Of course, the aim of the recently-opened bridge is to avoid exactly that – and allow trekkers to safely enjoy epic views of the 182-metre-high waterfall that plunges into the Måbødalen valley in Hardanger, western Norway.
The 99-step, 47-metre-long structure was designed by architect Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk and has been more than a decade in the making. Builders had to use helicopters and employ mountaineers to help raise it, and because the waterfall is located so high in the mountains, work could only take place during the short summer season.
Photograph: Harald Christian Eiken / www.vmproduksjon.no / Statens vegvesen
Now the bridge will finally allow adventurous travellers to get a closer look at Vøringsfossen, which was Norway’s most-visited natural attraction in 2018. Linking the two sides of the valley, it will allow visitors to see the waterfall from above and also take in panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
And although the vertigo-prone will probably want to stay away, further developments may encourage even those with a slight fear of heights to check out this truly ambitious building project. As part of a broader tourism drive, a new accessible footpath, a series of viewpoints and a café are due to be built in the area by 2022.
So even if you do get the frights when crossing that waterfall, at least there’ll be cake and a steaming americano to calm you down just a few minutes’ walk away.
Photograph: Frid-Jorunn Stabell / Statens vegvesen
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