Wednesday, May 07, 2008

2010 Olympics: Big Gondola!

Peak2Peak Construction at Whistler Blackcomb

Peak 2 Peak Gondola construction on Whistler Blackcomb is back on schedule after a snowy six-month winter. Completion of the gigantic gondola is scheduled for December 2008.

Just in time for the winter ski season and two years in advance of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The two-year construction project wrapped up phase one in November with the completion of the two tallest towers, along with concrete poured for the foundations of the remaining two towers.

Phase two just kicked off with the clearing of more than ten feet of snow around the lift terminals. Access roads have also been cleared on Whistler and Blackcomb, and the steel for the towers is being moved into place.

Across the Atlantic, five spools of cable (weighing nearly 100 metric tonnes each) were loaded onto a barge along with four "smaller" reels. They left Basel, Switzerland on April 10 and connected with an ocean going vessel in The Netherlands on April 23.

The cable is now on its trans-Atlantic journey to the Port of Vancouver in Washington State. This port has a heavy-lift mobile harbour crane and is the closest port that could handle the heavy spools. The cable is expected to arrive in the US on June 5, then will be transferred to rail cars and off to Whistler it goes!

Upon arrival at Whistler, the spools will be placed onto a special low-bed truck and transported up the mountain.

It will take 12-13 weeks for the cable stringing.

You can watch it all happen at via webcams, construction updates, photographs and videos.

A massive piece of steel at the Blackcomb terminal structure
Photo by Rick Temple

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