Operators of the Sea to Sky Gondola have reached a major milestone in their journey to rebuild and reopen the attraction.
A new 54-tonne, 4.4-km-long main haul rope was successfully installed on Monday, with the task completed by a crew of 14 people led by Swiss rope-splicing expert Hannes Koller.
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The 70-metre-long splice in the 52-mm-diameter cable was blended together seamlessly, and then lifted onto the bullwheel.
The new cable arrived from Switzerland on Thursday, and installation began the next day, with the new haul rope attached to the original cable and pulled up the line and around back to the base.
After the completion of the original damaged cable’s final purpose of hauling up the new rope, it was completely removed from the gondola system. This cable is now set to be melted down at a steel foundry and reused in future steel products.
The next major milestone will be the installation of 30 new replacement cabins manufactured by CWA in Switzerland. Production and shipping of these new cabins is on schedule.
All of the Sea to Sky Gondola’s old cabins, including the cabins that took a steep tumble into the forest below, were removed last month and will not be in use.
Operators say they are confident of their ability to have an early-spring 2020 reopening.
The gondola collapsed during the early morning hours of Saturday, August 10, with police stating in their preliminary assessment that someone intentionally cut the cable, causing a catastrophic failure of the gondola line, sending approximately two-thirds of the 30 cabins to the ground.
On August 23, RCMP investigators officially confirmed that the line was cut in an intentional act of vandalism, dismissing any natural or mechanical possibilities that could have resulted in such an unusual failure.
Police have not provided an update to their investigation on who may have been responsible.
An official technical investigation report by Technical Safety BC released on September 18 concluded the incident was an act of vandalism, while providing details on the extent of the damage and how the culprits could have accessed the site to commit the act
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