An image of GateKeeper's construction at Cedar Point taken on Jan. 4, 2013. Photo courtesy of Cedar Point.
SANDUSKY -- The GateKeeper scream machine is quickly taking shape, and Cedar Point officials say the new roller coaster's construction is right on schedule.
"The crews have been working 10-hour days, six days a week, through the snow and cold Lake Erie winds," spokesperson Annie Zelm says. "But it looks like they'll enjoy a momentary reprieve this week as temperatures climb to highs in the 50s by Saturday."
Photos: GateKeeper coaster construction at Cedar Point
Zelm says approximately 40 percent of the ride's structure is complete.
"It's quickly approaching the main gate and Blue Streak, which is the turnaround point," she explains.
Many of GateKeeper's twisted ride elements have already been erected.
"The Wing Over Drop, Immelmann and Camelback elements are now complete," Zelm says. "More exciting inversions are on the way, including the Zero-G-Roll and In-Line-Roll."
Zelm also says crews have started the foundation for two 100-foot tall keyhole towers, which riders will narrowly pass through as they "fly" over Cedar Point's main gate on GateKeeper.
Construction of the GateKeeper's structure, according to Zelm, should be complete in April, which is also when the majority of the ride's testing is scheduled to take place.
The ride is slated to soar to life during the park's opening day on Saturday, May 11, 2013.
When it makes its debut, GateKeeper will become Cedar Point's 16th roller coaster, taking riders on a 2 minute 40 second journey along 4,165 feet of steel track.
GateKeeper, which will be the world's longest winged coaster, is the first roller coaster introduced at Cedar Point since Maverick debuted at the back of the park in 2007.
Upon its completion, crews will have placed nearly 200 concrete footers, 200 steel supports and 12 million pounds of concrete to make GateKeeper a reality. In total, it's expected to take nearly 290 days of work from the initial site preparation to the ride's scheduled opening.
In addition to GateKeeper's construction -- which is taking the area once held by the now-demolished Space Spiral and Disaster Transport rides -- Cedar Point's main gate is getting a complete facelift for the 2013 season as well.
Other GateKeeper construction facts:
- The park announced the ride on Monday, Aug. 13, 2012.
- The first track pieces arrived on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012.
- The first track piece was erected on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012.
- The ride's lift hill was topped off on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.
- Track length: 4,164 feet.
- 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.
Elements of the ride:
- Wing over drop: Once riders crest the top of the lift hill, the coaster train will rotate 180 degrees to the right, turning them upside down before plummeting toward the ground at speeds in excess of 65 mph.
- Immelmann: A maneuver where riders enter a half loop, go through a half twist and curve out in the opposite direction from which they came.
- Camelback: Riders will fly over a giant, 105-foot-tall camelback hill that will be filled with airtime (weightless sensation).
- Giant flat spin: A 360-degree flip that will provide two different ride experiences for guests on each side of the train.
- Zero-G roll: A flying element that takes riders through two support towers that will dominate Cedar Point's new main entrance.
- Inclined dive loop: A tight, 180-degree turnaround pushes riders through an overbanked turn and rockets them back toward the station.
- 360-degree in-line-roll: An element that will take riders extremely close to the new massive support towers while flying over guests who are entering the park below.
- Camelback drop: A quick drop that will help propel the train and its guests through the ride's final spiral element.
- Spiral: Gatekeeper's track rotates 360 degrees before bringing the coaster train back to the ride station.
- Designed by: Bolliger & Mabillard.