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San Diego Zoo unveils new ‘Canopy Bridge’

SAN DIEGO -- A 450-foot bridge designed to make it easier to cross from one side of the San Diego Zoo to the other opened Friday.

The "Canopy Bridge'' connects Benchley Plaza on the east side of the zoo, to the Fossil Portal inside Elephant Odyssey on the west side, and was immediately used by numerous guests, according to broadcast video.

The span crosses a canyon area, cutting the walking time to just a few minutes and improving access for seniors and guests with physical challenges, according to the zoo. The project included a staircase and elevators.

Zoo officials also have plans for the bridge during the park's nighttime hours.

"We have this large bridge spanning across the canyon -- we thought why not dress it up a little bit for Nighttime Zoo?'' the park's Rick Schwartz told CBS8, referring to the later summertime hours. "So every night during Nighttime Zoo there'll be bubbles, there will be fog machines and a light show going on that will light up the canyon and the whole area, and if you want, cross the bridge while it's happening.''

The bridge took about 11 months to build.