A one-hour cable-car ride between ski stations in Switzerland and Italy has been given the green light. The highest crossing in the Alps is set to open in 2021.
Construction can begin on the Alpine Crossingexternal link project between the resorts of Zermatt and Cervinia after the Swiss Foundation for Landscape Protection and Zermatt Mountain Railways on Monday signed an agreement which, they said, “took due account of the interests of both sides”.
The Foundation for Landscape Conservation said it would drop a complaint handed in last May. It had feared a “Disneylandisation” of Alpine summits, saying there was already a heavy construction density on the Klein Matterhornexternal link, the highest cable-car station in Europe at 3,883 metres (12,740 feet).
In return, Zermatt Mountain Railways committed itself to promoting quality tourism with a respectful approach to nature. It agreed to dismantle the existing railway for transporting goods between the Klein Matterhorn and Cime Bianche Lagi in Italy as well as the existing border lift.
The two sides also agreed on a better landscape integration regarding the external lighting of the mountain station and the colour design of the valley station.
Construction work on the Alpine Crossing project, which will cost around CHF30 million ($30 million), will start immediately.
The tri-cable gondola will run all year, transporting around 2,000 people an hour for “not less than CHF150 one way”, according to Markus Hasler from Zermatt Mountain Railways. For this price, tourists will enjoy a luxury cabin featuring heated leather seats.