From The New York Times to Süddeutsche Zeitung, from Le Parisien to Daily Express and from La Stampa to The Australian – all the world’s leading papers enthusiastically report on the world’s largest urban cableway network in La Paz. And indeed: this project in Bolivia is an enduring sensation. It is being implemented by Doppelmayr in two phases; phase II is in full swing.
When DOPPELMAYR established its branch in La Paz in 2012, there was a vision voiced by the country’s President, Evo Morales, and there was a company which was to become responsible for its implementation: Mi Teleférico under the lead of César Dockweiler. At that time, Torsten Bäuerlen travelled to Bolivia for the first time - and stayed.
His mission, together with the current 100 experts from Doppelmayr and around 800 external specialists, is to realize the dream of the most environmentally- and economically-sound means of urban transport ever. “It is extremely exciting. Since the first day, practically since the first bolt“, says the young man who enthusiastically manages the strong connection between the parent company in Wolfurt and the branch in Bolivia.
“This world’s greatest urban cableway network is much more than just an unbeatable means of public transport that gives people more time for living. It brings a change in thinking, it teaches mindfulness towards the environment, it demonstrates that a developing country can assume a pioneering role worldwide on an important issue.
It makes the people proud of their country. The construction of this cableway brings an optimistic mood that endures.” The first three cableways – built in Bolivia’s national colors: red, yellow and green - started operating in 2014 and today they transport around 75,000 people daily in 443 CWA-Omega IV cabins from the 700-meters-high-situated city of El Alto to La Paz and back. For 17 hours, every single day.
Mi Teleférico CEO, César Dockweiler, at the grand opening of Linea Azul (the Blue Line), the first cableway completed under phase II.
The second phase triples the offer
Phase I merged into phase II seamlessly and the fi rst line, Linea Azul, has already been offi cially opened. It runs over a distance of 4,934 meters all the way to Rio Seco, it is supported by 40 towers and uses 223 cabins. “Work is currently in progress on several lines at the same time, as the Linea Naranja (orange line) with its four stations is to start operating this September, followed by the Linea Bianca (white line) which should open for public transport at the end of 2017.
They will be then followed by the light-blue Linea celeste (beginning of 2018), the brown Linea Café and the purple Linea morada before the end of 2018. Concluding negotiations are still underway about another line, the silver Linea plateada, which should bring the network to perfection. “Here, we are already preparing concrete plans”, reveals Torsten Bäuerlen.
It is almost unimaginable how hundreds of spots for the towers could be selected and negotiations about the construction requirements held in a city of one million like La Paz, as well as its former city quarter and now an independent municipality with a population also nearing one million, El Alto. How stations could be built all over the city without any obvious disturbance to ongoing traffi c and the usual hustle and bustle of a large city.
“DOPPELMAYR off ers the complete package. That means new tasks every day – from delivery of hundreds of containers with our cableway technology to close cooperation with architects, construction companies, and traffi c planners.
Every day there are reasons for hold-ups and that requires the highest fl exibility. Gardens, bus stops, new road sections are created,” says Bäuerlen, off ering an insight into the work of the DOPPELMAYR team and its partners. And every small change requires new planning steps also back at the parent company in Vorarlberg. The logistics are admirable.
As we all know: the devil is in the details. A single small delay can cause a halt at the building site. It must be accounted for and the released capacity must be assigned to other building sites. A standstill means immense costs. It is thus a No Go that has to be prevented every day.
National pride and hope
President Morales and Mi Teleférico’s boss, Cesàr Dockweiler, bet everything on involving, inspiring and motivating their own people - also in the assumption of responsibility. And that is precisely what sets a great example. The already highly frequented stations are in perfect condition as if they only opened yesterday. Joy and pride can be felt everywhere. And the network draws nearer to its target every day: once the construction is fi nished, millions of people will be transported in around 1,400 cabins along ten diff erent routes, over more than 6,200 operating hours per year, in an environment-friendly, fast and safe way. ah