Busch Garden Record-Breaking GIGA Coaster On Hold
The Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 has thrown a wrench into plans for many amusement parks around the world. One such park was Virginia’s Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW). The onset of the pandemic delayed the construction and opening of Pantheon, the world’s fastest Multi-launch coaster.
One other BGW project that was impacted was their following 2021 coaster, coined “Drachen Spire”. The ride featured two switch tracks, a beyond vertical spike, overbanked turn, multiple launches and a 355 foot spiraling tower.
With the delayed opening of Pantheon, it was widely assumed that the 2021 project would be pushed into 2022. While the site plan was approved by the James City County government shortly before the onset of the pandemic, the final approval of the ride itself was given the green light on December 29th.
Ever since the green light was provided on December 29th, all progress on the ride has come to a complete stop. Filings for permits related to land disturbances from the new project have been left untouched since they were filed nearly a year ago. A permit for land disturbance would be needed for any vertical construction project following the approval of the project by local government. As of now, they are listed in the local government’s permit database as “on hold”. The Site Plan – Amendment filing for the original project has remained at 89% completed for the last few months.
The soil boring and testing of the site was completed without any issues back in May of 2019. This was the last record in Va811’s database for the giga coaster. Pantheon has dozens of entries in the database, ranging primarily from 2018 through the current year.
Furthermore, much of the FAA filing for the ride has been scrubbed from the online listing as well. The project has been changed from being listed as “determined” to being listed as “Work In Process”. Much of the information in the original case file has been deleted. The listing has also been redefined as a proposed case according to the FAA.
Unlike the giga-project, the same filings related to construction proceeded for Pantheon during the pandemic. As it stands now, Pantheon is anticipated to open in 2021.
With the giga project on hold, it begs the question, how likely is it that the ride will ever come to fruition. The project came out of the initial plan to build a giga (“Project Madrid“) that crossed the river that ran in the middle of the park. When the project scope increased exponentially, it was decided to split the Madrid project into two separate coasters (Pantheon, and the giga coaster). With a portion of the ride already paid for, it is likely that the coaster will be built, albeit in some form — and that form could even be another SeaWorld Entertainment property.
If you want to get an idea of what this ride would have looked like, check out this virtual animation below.
For tickets and more information, visit the official Busch Gardens VA website by clicking here.
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