Branson Gondola

15
Dec

2016

Branson Gondola: City Approves MOU

Branson Gondola artist depiction. Image from KY3.

Branson Gondola artist depiction. Image from KY3.

The proposed $150-200 million Branson Gondola is one step closer towards realization. After a board meeting this week, the City’s aldermen voted 5-1 to approve a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

At a proposed length of 8.5 mile (13.7km) spread across 10-12 stations, the gondola will transport passengers from Branson Landing (mall located in Downtown Branson) to Silver Dollar City (amusement park).

Gondola alignment. Image by American Gondola.

Gondola alignment. Image by American Gondola.

If the project is built, the cable car would likely be one of the world’s longest passenger ropeways. Comparatively speaking, the world’s longest existing monocable detachable gondola (MDG) is the Bursa Uludağ Gondola (5.5mi / 8.8km) in Turkey.

With the MOU now signed, the agreement will provide the proponents (American Gondola) and its investors a degree of exclusivity and the confidence necessary to spend their money on detailed design and engineering. While the proponents also requested the City use eminent domain to help implement the gondola, this clause was ultimately removed in MOU’s final draft.

Some may question if the project is a tad ambitious for a City of just 11,000 residents. However, as one of our guest bloggers described previously, Branson receives an estimated 8 million visitors each year and is known as the “Country Music Capitol” of the US. Capturing a fraction of these visitors at proposed fares of $15-30 could ensure its economic viability.

Considering how all PRT and monorail projects in the past 25 years failed to move past the concept stage, the fact that City officials has agreed to an MOU is a great sign and demonstrate its willingness to work alongside proponents from American Gondola.

And perhaps there’s a good reason for that — since the proposal was launched publicly in October 2015, it appears most media and public responses have been very positive.

If all approvals are received, construction could start in 2018 and the gondola could be built and operational in 18-24 months. All in all, this urban gondola proposal appears to be one of the most advanced in the US and it will be exciting to see how it all unfolds.



Length (km) 13.7
Stations 10-12
Cabins 400-600
Operations 6am – 1am
Fare $15 (day); $30 (week)
Trip Time 40-45 minutes
Maximum speed (m/s) 4-6

 

 



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