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Ultimate Rollercoaster

December 13, 2006

Busch Gardens Europe Tops Off New Dive Coaster

Griffon Topping Off, Busch Gardens Europe
Construction workers at Busch Gardens Europe installed the tallest piece of Griffon. (© Busch Entertainment)

Griffon Evergreen, Busch Gardens Europe
It took two cranes to lifte the 74-thousand pound piece into place and a piar of construction workers to tighten the bolts. (© Busch Entertainment)
Williamsburg, VA -- Construction crews building the world's tallest dive coaster at Busch Gardens Europe have topped off Griffon as the roller coaster reaches its 205-foot pinnacle.

"It's all downhill from here, literally," according Busch Gardens.

The ceremonial evergreen was placed on the highest point as construction workers installed the tallest piece of the steel coaster. Track pieces number eight and nine (out of 91) sit about 200 feet above the ground. It took two cranes to lift the 74-thousand pound piece into place and a pair of construction workers to tighten the bolts.

"Installing the highest piece of track is a significant achievement, and it's everything we've envisioned," said Larry Giles, the vice president of design and engineering for Busch Gardens Europe and Water Country USA. "It's a milestone. From blueprint to reality."

Construction workers also placed an evergreen tree at the coaster's highpoint to highlight the event. "Topping off" is a construction site tradition meant to celebrate the highest or least piece of construction. "The evergreen is part of an age old tradition, and it's a sense of pride for us," said Giles.

When Griffon opens next spring it will be the world's first floorless dive coaster. Beginning at 205-feet, the coaster starts with a 90-degree drop. Traveling at a top speed of 75 mph, riders will experience two Immelman loops, a second drop and a splash down in water.

Crews have been working on Griffon since July and the roller coaster is expected to be ready to open in late spring.

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Busch Gardens Building World's Tallest Dive Coaster August 23, 2006

Photos © Busch Entertainment Corp. All rights reserved.

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