Working with Augusta Tomorrow, McLaren Engineering Group conducted a feasibility study on connecting two cities, with an aerial gondola. The ropeway system located along the banks of the Savannah River, would enhance tourism, and link central business districts of Augusta, Georgia and North Augusta, South Carolina, an area referred to as the Westobou Urban Area.
McLaren conducted a Phase 1 gondola feasibility study to review the initial design and construction feasibility of the proposed project. Pre- and post-meeting site reviews of potential alignments were conducted and the possibilities and route alignment preferences were discussed with city stakeholders.
After reviewing existing conditions, investigating geography/topography, land ownership, permitting requirements, and initial ridership inventory, McLaren reviewed alignment alternatives. Various issues were considered such as station locations, alignment challenges, rope line calculations and engineering constraints, tower locations, operational efficiencies, station and system construction phasing, and system visibility and accessibility. Upon selection of a primary and technically feasible route, a preliminary budget was prepared including costs for ropeway components, mechanicals and systems, station locations, towers and foundations, maintenance and operations annual costs and staffing, and construction phasing options.
The aerial gondola feasibility study resulted in a report that identified general engineering, construction options, and budget costs to bring this project to fruition. Based on its findings, the study also recommended additional, more detailed research and actions to be conducted as next steps. The report also served as a “road map” for moving the project forward.