The departure station will always be at the top right of the car park.
There will be a small modification on the existing one, the arrival station on the Charamillon pasture will be slightly higher, 110 meters (360 ft) precisely. This will be slightly offset to the left along the way. These small changes will be done with the purpose of decluttering access to the Autannes chairlift.
From 12 pylons today, the new gondola will be supported by 10 pylons.
The flow will double
The current gondola was a prototype from the 1980s. The six-seater gondola, a Montaz-Mautino model was designed to carry 1500 people per hour, but the old mechanism is not reaching anymore that number.
Benoit Borrel, technical project manager of the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc (CMB) estimates that “today, the actual flow of the device is around 1,000 to 1,100 people per hour, and the speed of the new device will be 2,000 to 2,200 people per hour. So we're really going to double the flow". The future cabins will be ten-seaters.
Feedbacks on the new project until 24 July
A public meeting to present the replacement project of the Charamillon gondola and associated facilities on the Balme ski area took place in the town hall of Argentière, on 29 June 2020.
Since 24 June, the new cable car project has been subject to a public inquiry. Anyone can record their remarks in the registers at the town hall of Chamonix or at the Argentière town halls until 24 July.
Benoit Borrel, of the CMB, specifies: "The project is really a consensus with the various speakers: the State services and classified sites, the town hall, and the village of Le Tour".
Jean-Marc Bonino, director of sustainable development of the territory for the town hall of Chamonix, wants to reassure: "We have a year and a half to draw up the layout of the parking lot and the traffic plan. The left bank is intended for residents and socio-professionals, while the right bank will serve as parking for users of the ski lift".
Start of works planned for June 2021
If the public inquiry and the building permit are validated, the works will start in June 2021. According to the provisional calendar, the new gondola will be put into service for Christmas 2022.
Moreover, the artificial snow network is planned for renovation and reinforcement for 2023 and 2024.
Then, a vast modernization program to replace the detachable chairlifts of Autannes and Tête de Balme will begin.