Trio of towers across the Thames: Spectacular 60million Olympic cable car rises from the depths of river in time for the 2012 games. London has a brand new traffic-calming measure – and as these pictures show, it”s a project of Olympic proportions.
These 300ft white pillars are part of a sleek new cable car system which will ferry Olympics spectators over the River Thames between the two Games venues.
Gondolas will glide over cables suspended between the futuristic towers, which link the 02 Arena on thesouth bank of the Thames to the ExCel exhibition centre in east London.
Landmark: The cable car will give stunning views across London
The O2 will host events including the gymnastics and basketball finals, while the ExCel centre features seven Olympic events and six Paralympic sports.
Up to 34 gondolas will run across the river, each carrying a maximum of 10 passengers.
Transport for London (TfL) hopes that up to 2,500 people will use the cable cars every hour – the equivalent of 40 buses.
As well as reducing pressure on the capital”s road system, the gondolas will offer tourists and commuters panoramic views over the London skyline.
The consortium of builders behind the project has been led by contractor Mace, whose past projects include the London Eye and the Shard, the iconic pyramid-shaped skyscraper under construction near London”s Tower Bridge.
Though they bridge a gap just two thirds of a mile wide, the cable cars have cost an eyewatering 60m to build.
The cost of the project was estimated at around 25m last year, and it was intended to be funded entirely by private investors.
Despite a 10-year sponsorship deal with the Dubai-based airline Emirates, worth 36m, the cable cars will now have to be financed with public money.
Ken Livingstone, Labour”s candidate for the London Mayoral Election, has slammed the costly project as “the most expensive cable car in history”.
However, TfL hopes the unusual transport system will prove its usefulness long after the Games, carrying up to two million people a year.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson is an enthusiastic supporter of the cable cars, and described them as “enthusiastic and innovative”.
Speaking in 2010 when the plans were first unveiled, the Mayor said: “A cable car spanning the majestic Thames would not only provide a unique and pioneering addition to London”s skyline, but also offer a serene and joyful journey across the river.
“Passengers would be able to drink in the truly spectacular views of the Olympic Park and iconic London landmarks whilst shaving valuable minutes from their travelling time.
“It would also provide a much needed enhancement of cross river options to the east of the city.”
The crossing will bring London in line with other major cities which use cable cars for transport, including Barcelona, Cologne, Lisbon and New York.
It is not yet known what a trip on the cable car will cost, but TfL has said it will definitely be payable by Oyster, the pay-as-you go card which already functions on London buses, underground trains and the Docklands Light Railway.