The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has announced that it most likely will not make a decision as to whether to bring the Wyler Aerial Tramway back into operation until early next year.
The tramway was closed by the department in 2018 after an engineering analysis indicated that the aerial cable car operation at the Franklin Mountains State Park had outlived its life expectancy.
Now, input is being solicited from the general public as to whether or not the tramway should be upgraded and given a new life, and in what ways it could be improved.
A movement to return the tramway to action was bolstered earlier this spring when members of the Texas State Legislature voted to appropriate $5 million to fix and upgrade the system.
That funding would also pay for the renovation of bathroom facilities and a gift shop at the tramway site.
Built by broadcast pioneer Karl Wyler and El Paso television station KTSM in the early 1960s, the tramway provided sweeping views of more than 7,000 square miles of land for up to 45,000 riders a year.
The tramway was originally built to transport supplies up the side of the Franklin Mountains during the construction of a transmitter antenna for KTSM.
If it’s decided to upgrade the tramway, it is expected to take up to four years to complete the project.
By Garry Boulard
Get stories like these right to your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter