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Green light for London's first cable car

By Matthew Knight for CNN
  • Construction on new cable car across London's River Thames to start in summer
  • 1,100-meter crossing in East London planned to open in time for 2012 London Olympics
  • Thirty-five gondola cabins expected to carry 2,500 passengers every hour, TfL say

London (CNN) -- Construction of a new cable car spanning London's River Thames will get underway this summer, London's mayor, Boris Johnson has announced.

The new 1.1-kilometer (0.68 miles) route will link the Greenwich Peninsula next to the O2 Arena with the Royal Docks on the north bank of the Thames and will cost an estimated £40 million ($65 million).

"This innovative airborne travel link will be a vital component in the ongoing renaissance of a vibrant easterly quarter of the Capital, providing a much needed river crossing," mayor Johnson said in a statement.

Transport for London (TfL) are hoping that building work on what will be the first urban transport system of its kind in the UK will be completed in time for the opening of the London 2012 Olympics on July 27.

The design by UK-based architects Wilkinson Eyre includes 34 separate gondola cabins, each carrying 10 passengers to a height of nearly 300 feet (90 meters) above the Thames.

A one way journey is expected to take five minutes.

TfL says a total of 2,500 passengers will be transported every hour and anticipate two million people will use the cable car each year.

The building project will be led by construction company Mace who have experience of erecting some of London's more iconic modern structures, including the London Eye on the South Bank of the Thames and more recently "The Shard," which is currently being built at London Bridge in south London.