Park City pegs gondola system across community at $60 million-plus
An aerial transit system linking key destinations within Park City would cost more than $60 million to build and more than $3 million annually to operate and maintain, a study has found, eye-popping figures at a time of economic uncertainty.
City Hall released the information early in the week in anticipation of a Park City Council meeting that is scheduled on Thursday. It is some of the most detailed information released by the municipal government about the possibilities of an aerial transit system, a concept that has been discussed for decades but never pursued as cost and other issues became complicated.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council are scheduled to receive an update, but it is unlikely the elected officials will make major decisions on Thursday. No votes are scheduled.
An aerial transit system, involving gondola routes, would be seen as something that could be an important traffic-fighting measure in a community where there have been widespread complaints about backups for years.
The City Hall information outlines a consultant’s research into a gondola system linking Old Town, the Park City Mountain Resort base area, the Snow Park area of Deer Valley Resort and the location off the Kearns Boulevard-Bonanza Drive intersection where the municipal government plans to build an arts and culture district.
The total capital cost is estimated at nearly $64.2 million. The projected annual cost of operations and maintenance is pegged at nearly $3.6 million. The line between Old Town and Snow Park is the most expensive in capital cost while the line from the arts and culture district location to Old Town is the most expensive to operate and maintain.
“In short, while an aerial system is technically possible, the costs are substantial, and the workload to consider this type of undertaking requires additional staff resources. Nonetheless, this is a bold solution that would likely gain traction and utility over time as the planned growth in and around Park City is projected to be considerable,” a City Hall report submitted to the elected officials early in the week says. “Eventually, aerial-connections could be used to mitigate traffic and congestion further, provided they seamlessly integrated with a comprehensive public transportation system to prevent vehicles from ever entering Park City.”
There have been a series of concepts over the years, at least since the 1990s, but none have been formalized. There have been concepts to link Empire Pass with the Main Street core via a gondola as well as a connection between Deer Valley and the Main Street area. The mayor and City Council a year ago held a brief discussion about aerial transit and signaled an interest in further talks.
The elected officials have 30 minutes set aside on Thursday for the update. It seems unlikely they will have the opportunity to discuss details on Thursday, but they could signal their interest in advancing the efforts or ending them.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. and will be held electronically. More information about participation in the meeting is available on the City Hall website. The direct link is: granicus_production_attachments.s3.amazonaws.com/parkcity/6fa8ceb1814edf0178248112e7be28a40.pdf.
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Mother Nature has not delivered any early gifts to Park City skiers and snowboarders. As December nears, the area is suffering through an especially dry spell of weather.