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Cedar Point: First track pieces for GateKeeper coaster arrive

3:00 PM, Oct 23, 2012   |    comments
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SANDUSKY -- A special delivery of massive proportions has landed at Cedar Point. The first pieces of light-blue track for the new GateKeeper winged roller coaster have arrived at the Sandusky scream park.

Photos: GateKeeper coaster construction at Cedar Point

Spokesperson Annie Zelm says the first shipment of track pieces came Tuesday morning with many more on the way.

"Steel shipments will continue to arrive daily by the truckload throughout November," she explains. "More than 100 semi trucks will make the 200-mile journey from Clermont Steel in southern Ohio to their destination at Cedar Point. Workers will begin erecting these steel components in November, including the columns and track. The station construction will also begin in November."

Zelm says the track pieces each weigh approximately 7,500 pounds and will be arriving to Cedar Point in the order of where they will be placed at the construction site (the first pieces are closest to the station).

The track's official colors are azure blue and strata blue, while the ride's trains will be sunset gold, each with zenith gold, meteor gold and orion gold accents.

Video: Animated footage of Gatekeeper in action

Construction on GateKeeper near the park's main entrance began several weeks ago.

"By now, workers have dug close to 200 footers for the ride's foundation, each about 6 feet deep," Zelm says. "They'll use steel cages to reinforce the concrete in each of the footers."

This winter, the 100-foot keyhole elements will be installed as work will continue on the massive undertaking through the spring with steel erection, electrical installation and station work.

When it's all finished, testing must then begin.

"Engineers will monitor speed, functions, braking, lift hill performance and stopping positions," Zelm continues. "Accelerometers will test the forces at work on the ride and verify that they are within design criteria."

The ride will then undergo maintenance and operational checks, followed by inspection from the Ohio Department of Agriculture's Ride Safety Division.

Those who want to watch the construction daily, Zelm says they plan on moving their parking lot web camera, which can be seen at CedarPoint.com, closer to the construction site after this weekend.

GateKeeper's life is also tied to the death of two long-running Cedar Point rides: Space Spiral and Disaster Transport.

Space Spiral literally came crashing down on Sept. 13 after crews set off an explosive blast at the its base. After giving more than 34 million rides since first scraping the sky in 1965, it only took 17 seconds for Space Spiral's 330-foot tower to slam to the ground.

Photos: Cedar Point tears down Space Spiral

At its tip, Space Spiral was the tallest point in the park for decades until Top Thrill Dragster opened in 2003.

Disaster Transport, an indoor bobsled roller coaster, closed forever on July 29 after giving more than 30 million rides throughout its 28 years.

Photos: Disaster Transport's final ride

Both "dead" rides are being honored at this year's HalloWeekends in the Cedar Point ride graveyard alongside memories of other former attractions like the Rotor, Pirate Ride, Earthquake and Frontier Lift. The ride graveyard is located on the main midway near the Raptor every Halloween season. 

Photos: Cedar Point's ride graveyard

Once with a record-breaking 17 total, Cedar Point's coaster tally is now at 15 after also removing the WildCat prior to opening for the 2012 season. It was torn down to make room for Luminosity, the park's new night-time show.

Gatekeeper, which will bring their coaster tally up to 16 total, marks the first time Cedar Point has debuted a new roller coaster since unleashing Maverick in 2007.

GateKeeper is slated to open on May 11, 2013.

Cedar Point is currently open for their annual HalloWeekends event every Friday-Sunday until Oct. 28.

Photos: HalloWeekends 2012 at Cedar Point

GateKeeper facts:

- The ride spans 4,164 feet of track.

- There will be 200 steel supports.

- 12 million pounds of concrete will be set.

- There are four engineering companies involved.

- More than 100 workers are part of the process.

- Lift hill: 170 feet.

- Angle of lift hill: 40 degrees.

- Vertical drop: 164 feet.

- Maximum speed: 67 mph.

- Time: 2 minutes 40 seconds.

- Capacity: Approximately 1,710 riders per hour, 32 riders per train.

- Estimated cost for construction of ride and revamped front gate: $30 million.

WKYC-TV

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