Wyler Aerial Tramway closed due to life expectancy surpassed, no longer suited for public

Wyler Aerial Tramway closed due to life expectancy surpassed, no longer suited for public (Source: CBS4)

Wyler Aerial Tramway at the Franklin Mountains is closed until further notice, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

The decision comes after an engineering analysis was conducted as part of a deferred maintenance project that was planned for later this fall.

The organization said that despite the tramway passing annual inspections, it was determined that the tram had surpassed its life expectancy and was no longer suited for public use.

TPWD closed the tramway while it considers its options.

"I like it, its an experience. I only went there one time, with my wife," said Willie Valverde of central El Paso. "We like it, it’s a beautiful view from up there to down here."

The Wyler Aerial Tramway was originally designed to provide maintenance access for television transmission towers in the Franklin Mountains until it was donated to TPWD in 1997.

The construction of the tram predates the establishment of national tramway standards and, despite its clean record and successful annual inspections, the engineering review conducted this summer recommends that the tramway be updated to meet today’s standards, which would require a complete overhaul of the tramway.

"The outcome is that we need to pretty much overhaul the entire system. Something that we thought was going to cost us around 250,000 dollars it turned out to be a multimillion dollar project which the department," said Cesar Mendez the Parks Superintendent.

Texas Parks and Wildlife said they doesn’t have the money at this point.

"We’ve had some events already up here, we depend on their programming, going forward we’re still waiting on word about that," said Jim Tolbert the director of Celebration of our Mountains.

Replacement of the tram is estimated to cost millions of dollars. TPWD said they do not have the financial resources for construction at this time.

"They need to open it back up or do something fix it, all the money they’re putting into who knows what, they need to keep our landmarks," said Christopher Petersen of central El Paso.

The Wyler Aerial Tramway has been in operation for nearly six decades.

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