Midway through the winter on Lake Erie, construction crews on Shoot the Rapids, the new water ride at Cedar Point amusement park/resort in Sandusky, Ohio, are taking the park’s new river-ride adventure to a higher level.
Throughout the fall, crews cleared the 2.5-acre site and completed a majority of the groundwork — most of it below the surface. Trenches were dug, footers for support columns were poured and water lines for the ride’s landing areas and special effects such as geysers and water sprays were installed.
Now the crews’ focus is higher — about 8.5 stories above the ground.
Earlier this week, crews began erecting portions of the ride’s steel track. Although Shoot the Rapids will be the park’s third water ride, it will still use steel tracks and two lift chains to carry the boats to the top of two hills, one of several exciting features of the ride. The $10.5 million project will be the most expensive water ride ever built at Cedar Point.
The ride’s first hill, its largest, will be 85 feet tall. It will be three feet taller than the park’s Snake River Falls that opened in Frontiertown in 1993. It will also be one of the tallest water ride hills in the world. After plunging down the first hill, riders will travel through a rustic setting with wooded areas and canyon walls that spray guests with water. The second hill will carry riders up nearly five stories before sending them to the ride’s grand finale – a splash landing through churning rapids and spraying water from all directions.
Before the track can be erected, several steel support columns, some as tall as 80 feet, must be lifted into position and bolted onto the concrete footers. Overall, 18 steel columns will be required to complete the project. With normal weather conditions, Dangler expects the lift hills to be completed toward the end of the month.
At the same time the lift hills are being assembled, crews on the ground are framing and pouring the ride’s concrete trough. When completed the trough will be nearly 1, 500 feet long and will require more than 5, 800 cubic yards of concrete. The slope of the trough and the ride’s pumping system, consisting of 12 pumps, will move the boats along the 2, 100-foot-long course.
In March after the ride’s structure has been completed, the electrical and water-pumping systems will be installed and the ride’s loading station will be built.
After that, it’s weeks of inspections, testing and training so that Shoot the Rapids will be ready to provide a brand new and exciting ride experience for park guests on Saturday, May 15 when Cedar Point opens for its 141st season.