Santiago de Chile

Soaring above the traffic chaos

The main purpose of the cableway is to connect two important business centers: Ciudad Empresarial with the center called “Sanhatten“. The 3.4-kilometer- long cableway should have three stations. The first is projected at the crossing of Thayer Ojeda with Nueva Providencia, the middle station at Cerro San Cristóbal (east of the Antilén swimming pool) and the third at Ciudad Empresarial’s trade fair center. The first station in Sanhatten will be connected to the metro station Tobalaba.

The contract for this $80-million project was awarded to Teleférico Bicentenario Consortium made up of the cableway manufacturer DOPPELMAYR and the companies Teleférico Bicentenario SpA, Icafal Inversiones S.A. and Ciudad Empresarial S.A. The consortium itself first initiated the project and will be responsible not only for the cableway’s construction but also for its maintenance and operation. The concession will be issued for 35 years. Construction should start in 2020; launch is foreseen for 2022.

10-seater cabin cable car Bicentenario

  • Length 3.4 km
  • Cabins 148
  • Size of cabins 10 pers.
  • Stations 3
  • Transport capacity 6,000 pers./h
  • Travel time 13 min.
  • Construction beginning 2020
  • Operation beginning 2022
  • Concession 35 years
  • Investment sum 80 mill. $

6,000 persons per hour

With its 148 gondola cars, the cableway will have a transport capacity of 6,000 passengers – 3,000 in each direction – per hour. Each cabin can carry ten passengers, the time interval between cabins should be 12 seconds. The masts should be built 100 meters apart. “As soon as the project is completed and regular operation is launched, the cable car should be smoothly integrated into the city’s public transport system.


This will help reduce traffic in these highly frequented communes,” said the Chilean Ministry for Infrastructure (Ministerio de Obras Públicas – MOP). According to the weekly magazine Condor, the former administrative director of the metropolitan region, Claudio Orrego, can see several advantages of the cable car: “A cable car is environment-friendly as it produces no exhaust gases. It should contribute to reducing surface traffic and, thanks to its short travel time, improve residents’ quality of life. Last but not least, the cable car will also create a new tourist attraction in Santiago.”

Santiago needs cableways

The responsible politicians are currently discussing how the cable car can be best incorporated into the city landscape. However, traffic experts point out that it is not the cableway that presents the main problem.

The future cable car station Santa Clara should look like this.. Photos: Ministerio de Obras Públicas – MOP

Director of the Faculty of Architecture at the Universidad Diego Portales, Ricardo Abuauad, explains in an interview with the radio broadcaster Bío Bío that the entire passenger local public transport needs to be improved: “All city planning projects implemented in the last few years aimed at extending the road and city highway network – and succeeded. This, however, led to an increase in the use of private cars.”


But what Santiago – a city where over 40 percent of the country’s population is concentrated – needs is a better public transport system and its interconnection with other means of transport, such as bicycles or – precisely – a cable car. The expert also recommends that a central authority for city planning should be established as traffic projects, such as this cableway project, have so far fallen within the competence of the mayors of the affected municipalities. ts

Three questions for Juan Carlos Figueroa Quezada, Fiscal Inspector of the Building Department at the Chilean Ministry for Infrastructure. SI Urban: Why was a decision on the construction of the Bicentenario cable car adopted by the authorities?

Juan Carlos Figueroa Quezada: In the framework of a partnership between the public and the private sectors and the existing practice of granting concessions, private companies had the opportunity to submit to the Ministry for Infrastructure ideas for a project. Such proposals are subsequently analyzed, and, where appropriate, declared to be of public interest by the governmental authorities so that the private offeror can prepare a preliminary design study.


The same procedure took place also with respect to the “Bicentennial” cable car. The cableway manufacturer Doppelmayr was a part of a consortium in this case. Implementation of a cable car in the city of Santiago would benefit users of the local public transport who need to minimize their travel time between their homes and workplaces. In addition to that, an alternative, environment- friendly and innovative means of mass transportation should be on offer.


These were the objectives as declared by the authorities for the implementation of the cableway as a new mode of transport. What is the future role of cableways in local public transport in Chile? Cableway transport has tremendous potential in Chile as the country’s geographic conditions are suitable for the implementation of such systems. Expansion of cities naturally ends at the interface between mountains and valleys.


This is why I have no doubt that urban cableways present a genuine alternative for local passenger public transport in Chile. Are there any other plans for cableways in Chile? The possibility of implementing cableways in the cities of Valparaíso and Iquique is currently being examined. These are cities with geographical features that call for the implementation of a cableway, particularly because they have expanded substantially in the past few decades and suffer from serious congestion issues due to heavy traffic.


Therefore, from a political perspective, implementation of these systems would contribute to a more sustainable and equitable economic, social and cultural development of the country and promote territorial integration for a better quality of life.