SANDUSKY, Ohio — As Cedar Point’s newest world-record-breaking roller coaster, GateKeeper, emerges along the Lake Erie shoreline, it is generating excitement across the globe and anticipation for its May 11th debut. But the strongest impact is felt throughout Ohio, where it has brought business to local companies during the winter months when construction work usually comes to a halt.
“We are proud to find the highly-skilled engineers and workers needed to build a world-class roller coaster like GateKeeper in our backyard,” said John Hildebrandt, Vice President and General Manager of Cedar Point. “It’s wonderful to see Ohioans become an integral part of the GateKeeper team, especially when this is a record-breaking attraction that will draw fans from around the world.”
Every great ride begins with a strong foundation, and that’s where Oregon, Ohio-based A.A. Boos & Sons lends a hand. The company has nearly two dozen workers at Cedar Point, involved in everything from leveling the site to digging the footings and filling them with concrete. The crew has poured nearly 200 footings of varying sizes to hold steel supports for GateKeeper, including the ride’s 164-foot vertical drop.
The ride was engineered halfway around the world by Bolliger & Mabillard of Monthey, Switzerland, but the ride comes to life at Clermont Steel Fabricators in southern Ohio. Skilled workers at the 152,000-square-foot facility constructed the steel supports and pieces of track, each weighing more than 7,500 pounds.
One of GateKeeper’s most exciting elements will be the two keyhole structures that riders will narrowly pass through, racing over arriving guests with rolling flyover maneuvers as they soar over the park’s main entrance. Tony Ravagnani Architects, based in Cincinnati, is responsible for designing, engineering and installing the keyhole structures, that will forever change Cedar Point’s front gate.
Responsible for the nerve center of the ride is Firelands Electric, located in Sandusky, Cedar Point’s hometown. Firelands Electric provides the control wiring for the operation of the coaster and its lighting, including lights that illuminate the ride, station and walkway. The company has worked on numerous Cedar Point rides in the past, including Maverick, maXair and SkyHawk.
The GateKeeper project is a $30 million investment. It demonstrates Cedar Point’s commitment to maintaining its reputation as the roller coaster capital of the world and is also a new investment in Ohio’s tourism industry. Cedar Fair, Cedar Point’s parent company, has invested more than $130 million in capital projects at all of its Ohio properties since 2007.
“The investment Cedar Point is making to expand its park will provide a needed boost to construction firms and the broader economy in Sandusky, statewide and across the country,” said Brian Turmail, executive director of public affairs for the Arlington, Va.-based Associated General Contractors of America. “As the park expands, thousands of construction workers and people employed in related professions will earn good wages and invest them back in a host of businesses throughout Ohio and the nation.”
Towering at 170 feet, spinning through two signature keyholes at speeds of 67 mph – GateKeeper gives guests a simulated flight experience that will help Cedar Point break seven world records including tallest drop, longest track and most inversions of any winged coaster on the planet. The new coaster will take its place alongside other record-setting coaster legends like Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point, a park voted “Worlds Best Amusement Park” by Amusement Today for the past 15 years.
Cedar Point will open for its 144th season on May 11, 2013, with its new winged roller coaster, GateKeeper. For more information, log onto cedarfair.com.