Private Landowner Proposes New Gondola Plan to End Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT Traffic Congestion

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Credit: Lift Blog

A private landowner has put forward an alternative fourth proposal to help solve the traffic congestion in Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah, addressing the two major criticisms of UDOT’s original gondola proposal.

As part of the Environmental Impact Statement process, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is seeking public comment regarding three draft transportation alternatives for improving safety, reliability, and mobility in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The three original alternatives proposed are:

  • Enhanced bus service
  • Enhanced bus service with road widening
  • Gondola

While many would agree that a gondola is the best solution, there were a couple of criticisms of the plan put forward; the lack of on-site parking at the base, and the relatively slow speed of the gondola. Hopefully, the three options above currently under public comment are not set in stone, as a private landowner has put forward his own proposal that aims to address both of those criticisms, reports Lift Blog.

gondola, little cottonwood canyon, utah,
Credit: Lift Blog

Former Sandy City Councilman Chris McCandless and former Utah State Senator Wayne Niederhauser are behind the proposal. They are requesting UDOT resite the proposed base terminal of the gondola to a 37.5-acre site, near the LaCaille estate and adjacent to Highway 210, less than a mile from the mouth of the canyon. This new site would offer sufficient space for a public parking garage with 1,546 spaces and a transit center to enable people to take the bus to the gondola.

CW Management, the company owned by McCandless and Niederhauser, owns the proposed site, with plans to develop, but are willing to include this new gondola base area in their plans, so long as UDOT approves it. According to their plans, the addition of a non-loading angle station would be required in lower Little Cottonwood Canyon to avoid the gondola passing over designated wilderness. A second angle station at Tanners Flat, already featured in UDOT’s alternative, would still be required.

gondola, little cottonwood canyon, utah,
Credit: Lift Blog

Having consulted Doppelmayr USA, (based in Salt Lake City, UT) CW Management predicts they could transfer up to 4,000 passengers per hour, significantly more than the 1,050 an hour in the original plan. With a ride time of less than half-an-hour to Snowbird, it is estimated it could take up to 10,000 people off the highway during peak periods. If you’ve ever sat in Little Cottonwood traffic, a 30-minute ride is a significant improvement!

Little Cottonwood Canyon resorts Alta and Snowbird have both voiced their support or further study of this new proposal.

Detailed information regarding each of the original three alternatives and UDOT’s decision process can be found at littlecottonwoodeis.udot.utah.gov

The comment period ends on July 10th. To voice your opinion, click HERE.

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La Caille estate at the bottom of LCC.

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