Beyond the challenges of designing a bridge to get the new coaster over four-lane Peninsula Drive, we designed an access road on steeply sloped terrain and left room for a potential multi-use trail.
Waldameer Amusement Park has been in continuous operation for over 115 years. In 1922, the park premiered its wooden Ravine Flyer Coaster as its featured amusement ride. Tragedy struck in 1938 when a rail car failed and a passenger fell to his death trying to escape. The park closed down the ride. Seventy years later, spurred by the renewed popularity of traditional roller coasters, Waldameer proposed a new feature roller coaster, Ravine Flyer II. Unique to the coaster is its location over 4-lane Peninsula Drive (SR 832). Urban provided engineering design, environmental permitting, and construction oversight services for an arch steel bridge to support the wooden and steel coaster.
Building an amusement ride over an active highway is not all fun and games. Along with the bridge to carry the coaster over the highway, we designed an access road on steeply sloped terrain and left room for a potential multi-use trail. In accordance with PennDOT design safety requirements, we updated the original “Aerial Right” over the highway with a new PennDOT Permit.
The bridge’s safety features include wire mesh cover to protect people on the road below from falling keys, phones, or other items belonging to coaster riders. The bridge blends with the natural terrain and was designed to accommodate the potential widening of Peninsula Drive, in the future.
Ravine Flyer II opened in May of 2008 and won the most prestigious award in the industry, the “Golden Ticket Award,” for best new ride in the world by Amusement Today. Since then, Ravine Flyer II has been perennially ranked in the top ten by Amusement Today for best wooden roller coaster. According to Waldameer Park CEO Paul Nelson, “The new coaster has helped us expand our reach, and now we’re getting groups from suburban Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Cleveland. I think a lot of people are discovering what I learned a long time ago - Erie is a pretty special place.”