Seriously Cool Yet Dangerous: How to Build a Cliffside Gallery Road (Photos)

Living life literally on the edge. (Image: youth.cn)
Living life literally on the edge. (Image: youth.cn)

Are you impressed by manmade structures built at heights like the Grand Canyon Skywalk?

Thousands of years ago, the ancient Chinese had already invented the earliest “skywalk” along cliffs, not for sight-seeing, but for transportation. It is known as a gallery road.

Would you believe a road can be built in such conditions without seeing those photos? (Image: youth.cn)

Would you believe a road can be built like this if you hadn’t seen these photos? (Image: youth.cn)

The construction technique for a gallery road has been passed down generation after generation, and developed into today’s form as architectural technology has modernized. For example, these roads used to be made with wooden planks or slate, but are now cast in concrete.

Sophisticated project. (Image: youth.cn)

A sophisticated project. (Image: youth.cn)

Casting the concrete. (Image: youth.cn)

Pouring the concrete. (Image: youth.cn)

However, the safety measures taken and construction tools used seem much the same as thousands of years ago.

A construction team in Hunan Province recently started building a gallery road that is 0.6 miles long, and 1,320 feet above ground. The photos of the project show the difficult and dangerous conditions the men have to work in.

Gallery road under construction. (Image: youth.cn)

Gallery road under construction. (Image: youth.cn)

Working hard under the sun. (Image: youth.cn)

Hard work under the sun. (Image: youth.cn)

One contrast to building on the ground is that machinery can’t be used, so gallery road construction relies almost entirely on manual labor.

And the workers only have the simplest tools like scaffolding, hammers, and a trolley. Also they work without a safety rope.

A project done with the simplest tools. (Image: youth.cn)

A project done with the simplest tools. (Image: youth.cn)

Work in the primitive way. (Image: youth.cn)

Working the primitive way. (Image: youth.cn)

The men barely talk. They must focus on their work and the path underfoot. Any careless move could end in death.

The only security measure is the helmet wearing by the workers. (Image: youth.cn)

The only security measure is a helmet. (Image: youth.cn)

One worker told media: “The work isn’t bad once you get used to it. The income I earned allows my two children to stay in school.”

Smiles on the worker's face. (Image: youth.cn)

Smiles on the workers’ faces. (Image: youth.cn)

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