You can find aerial ropeways in places where roads and other forms of infrastructure are not available as a means of transporting people and goods. In mountainous or hilly areas, aerial ropeways are a common site. Aerial ropeways have been in use for a long time. They can be made of simple cables and pulleys to more complicated steels mechanisms with carriers.
A simple erial ropeway can be constructed using ropes or cables, wooden supports, and a carrier or two. Using steel supports and other mechanisms would make the aerial ropeway sturdier and can carry more weight across the line.
- Research on aerial ropeways. There are many different kinds of aerial ropeways in use all over the globe. Find out what type is best suited for the area where the ropeway will be constructed. Read about materials, mechanisms, support, and construction.
- Measure the distance to be covered by the aerial ropeway. You need to know the length of rope or cape you need to use for your ropeway. Measure the distance between the two points. The length of rope or cable you will need is double the distance from one point to the other. You also need to find out how many supports have to be erected along the route of the aerial ropeway. The number of supports will depend on both the distance and the terrain.
- Choose the appropriate cable or rope. Cable is more durable compared to rope. However, if the distance is fairly short, you can find strong rope that can do the same job as cable. Cable is more expensive than rope. In some instances, cost may be a factor when choosing between cable and rope. Ultimately, safety should be your number one concern, especially if people will be using the ropeway as a means of transportation.
- Determine the type of construction. You can either do a single cable ropeway or a double cable system. Most modern ropeways now use single cables. The supports that have to be put up should also be identified at this point. Also determine how passengers or cargo will be loaded on and off the ropeway.
- Select the carrier to be used. If you are using carriers, you have several options to choose from. If passengers will use the aerial ropeway, choose between chairlifts and gondola-type of carriers. Simple basket type carriers can also be used for passengers as well as cargo. The carrier should be able to accommodate the weight of the passenger or passengers plus the items that they will be bringing with them. In rural areas, passengers normally bring their produce, animals or bicycles with them across aerial ropeways. The carrier as well as the cable should be able to handle the stress of the load and the frequency of the load that will traverse the ropeway. This is why you should also find out how often the carrier will be in use on an hourly, daily and weekly basis.
Note: If you plan to construct an aerial ropeway in a rural area or developing country, you may need to get government approval and support. Non-governmental agencies (NGOs) may also help you get the project started and completed.
Making an aerial ropeway requires a lot of planning due to the safety issues related to this type of transportation system. Lives and cargo are at stake so safety is of primary concern. Work with qualified engineers and construction people. Make sure to involve the local government in the project.