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Jordan development zone lays out Ajloun cable car plan

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Jul 05,2019 - Last updated at Jul 05,2019

AMMAN — The Jordan Free and Development Zones Group (JFDZG) has announced the schedule and plans for the cable car project in Al Suwwan sone in Ajloun, which is expected to be completed by June 2021.

JFDZG Chairman Khalaf Hmeisat said the goal of the Ajloun cable car project is to develop the governorate, stimulate tourism investments, support the national economy and provide jobs, according to a JFDZG statement sent to The Jordan Times on Thursday.

The project will be implemented in accordance with international practices, in cooperation with an Austrian company, Doppelmayr.

Al Suwwan zone in Ajloun is divided into three locations; the main location comprises plot No. 36, extending over 142 dunums, which is going to be the area where the cable car will take off, sliding over a 2.85-kilometre-long line, according to the statement.

The first part of the main location will have shops, a cafe and a restaurant, and the second part, which is designated for a "big investment project" to be floated after the cable car project is operational, has a conference centre, a five-star hotel and several restaurants. 

The second location contains the 26-dunum plot No. 43, over which the cable car passes, and it is also connected directly to the Ajloun Castle location and the visitors' centre. This includes a station for the cable car, a restaurant and a market for agricultural products, the statement said, adding that there will be a road for horse-drawn carriages as well as cars. 

The third location contains  the 126-dunum plot No. 86, and initial plans aim at establishing an eco-lodge, a restaurant and a cafe. 

In regards to plans to develop the whole zone; the first phase includes building the parts of the cable car project that will exist on plots No. 36 and No. 43 at a cost of around JD10 million, the group said, noting that this will be paid from its own budget and is expected to create 50 jobs. 

The second and larger phase, mainly on plot No. 36, includes the conference centre, the five-star hotel, lodging and several restaurants at an estimated cost of JD50 million, which will be implemented in cooperation with the private sector and is expected to generate around 650-700 jobs, according to the statement.

This phase also covers several projects on plot No. 86 at an estimated cost of JD3 million, which will also be implemented in cooperation with the private sector and is expected to create around 50 jobs. 

In May, the Cabinet approved acquisitions and the estimated value of the project, after which the tender was awarded to the Austrian company that won the bid to design and construct the cable car system, according to the statement. 

The tender's duration for just the cable car system is 18 months at a cost of 7,240,000 euros, the statement said, adding that the cable car line will extend over 2,850 metres between plots No. 36 and No. 43 near Ajloun Castle. The project will include a total of 40 cars, extendable to 60 cars in the future, each of which will fit eight passengers. 

Moreover, the total duration to construct and install the system, design its buildings and build its commercial stations will be 24 months at a cost of JD10 million, the statement said. 

The elements of the cable cars will be made in Austria, whereas the base, towers, buildings and stations will be handled by a local designer and contractor. Afterwards, Doppelmayr will install the cars at the location, test and operate them, the statement concluded.  

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