BUTTE - A recently completed feasibility study says that a gondola or tram could be built to transport people up the Our Lady of the Rockies Statue overlooking Butte.
However, it’s going to take a large sum of money, but those who believe in the project have plenty of faith.
“It took from 1979 to 1985 and in 1985 when they put the Lady up, that seemed insurmountable, so all these insurmountable things might be surmountable,” said President of the Our Lady of the Rockies Board Ray Ueland.
“Excess of 4 million travelers come through I-15 and I-90 through Butte, Montana, 4 million. If we can get just a portion of that to stop and this would be a great tourist attraction,” said Ueland.
The engineering firm SCJ Alliance conducted a study and determined the tram could be built for somewhere between $10 million to $30 million.
Supporters of the project admit it’s going to be difficult to find that kind of money but believe the tram would eventually be worth the cost.
“Excess of 4 million travelers come through I-15 and I-90 through Butte, Montana — 4 million. If we can get just a portion of that to stop and this would be a great tourist attraction,” said Ueland.
Tourist officials agree that a tram to the statue would entice more people to come to Butte.
“This would really draw people into the community and get them to stay here, to spend more time to recreate,” said Butte’s Director of Convention and Visitors Bureau Maria Pochervina.
The proposal is to build the tram’s base on a 12-acre plot of land just off Continental Drive.
The tram would head north along the highway to a transfer spot, where it would continue over Interstate 15 up to the statue.
“Allow people to go up more frequently if there are people in town that want to go up, and a great way to sit and reflect and get you up in those mountains pretty quick,” said Pochervina.
Ueland wants to see this project done for the people who built the statue more than 35 years ago.
“They’re no longer with us and that was their dream to not only have the buses, but have a tram, and they’re deceased now. So, jokingly I say I hope we get it before I’m deceased,” he said.
It's a lofty goal that might just be in reach.