Impressive Views: The new Gondola at Pointe Helbronner in the Mont Blanc Massif
The Pointe Helbronner is a 3,462m high mountain in the Mont Blanc Massif between Savoy and the Aosta Valley. The mountain station of the Funivie Monte Bianco funicular that transports passengers from the Italian side in La Palud near Courmayeur to the Mont Blanc Massif is located in this area.
The original cable car built in 1948 is being replaced by a modern gondola lift that will reach Pointe Helbronner in two sections. The valley station of the first section is being built approx. 700m from the previous station, and the mountain station will stand approx. 30m to the left of the old building. The new gondola lift with three supports features spherical cabins that can be rotated by 360° and can transport up to 800 people per hour.
The mountain station of the second section is being built on the same spot as the old station due to restricted space. The upper gondola lift with two supports has a maximum capacity of 610 passengers per hour and is also fitted with cabins that can rotate completely.
The valley station has an undulating roof structure consisting of steel and glass elements that are supported by curved steel trusses. The roof rests on 4 columns, each of which divides into 4 supports that are inclined towards the exterior. To post-tension the floor slab of the new building, DYWIT Italy supplied a total of 52t of unbonded DYWIDAG Monostrand Tendons. The monostrand tendons are inserted into PE ducts that are placed parallel to each other and then anchored and tensioned in bundles.
Due to very limited space, the summit station is being built mainly vertically with cantilevered terraces reminiscent of Mont Blanc’s quartz crystals with its intentionally irregular form. The building is anchored in highly fractured granite by a 70m deep, vertical gallery with an interior diameter of 5m.
The funnel accommodates lifts and a stairway that permits access to a pedestrian tunnel leading to the Torino Cabin. At the same time, the gallery also serves to safely anchor the gondola lift.
4m long, 26 WR DYWIDAG Rock Bolts with double corrosion protection were used as ground support during excavation of the funnel and the pedestrian tunnel. In total, DYWIT supplied 2,300m of DYWIDAG Rock Bolts for stabilizing tunnel advancement. In addition, the DYWIT team also provided technical support on site both during the work in the valley and at the summit station.