A 1.24-mile-long aerial cable-car system could be operational in time for the 2012 London Olympic Games if Mayor Boris Johnson signs off on the plan. The $65-million project would be the U.K.’s first urban cable car and would cross the River Thames. Last month, councils for the two boroughs affected—Greenwich and Newham—approved the plan that links Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks.

Image: TFL
A map shows the cable-car system that has been approved by London’s Greenwich and Newham boroughs. The system would cross the River Thames.
Cables Will Run Between 295-ft-tall Towers.
Photo: TFL
Cables Will Run Between 295-ft-tall Towers.

The system, designed by a London-based team including structural firm Expedition Engineering Ltd. and Wilkinson Eyre Architects, will be able to carry 2,500 people per hour. Cables will run between two 295-ft-tall towers on either side of the river. Cable cars would cross the river at heights of more than 164 ft.

The city’s transportation authority, Transport for London (TfL), hopes to secure 100% private financing for the project. An official with the TfL says initial discussions have been held, and further talks are planned to determine third-party contributions to the scheme.

Crossing the flight path of London City Airport, located a few kilometers away, the cable car’s siting must comply with mandatory “public safety-zone” constraints, says a spokeswoman for the regulatory Civil Aviation Authority. Because the airport increased flight movements from 80,000 a year to 120,000 since 2009, the authority is consulting stakeholders through early March on whether the safety zone should be revised, she adds. CAA is acting on behalf of the Dept. for Transport.