There's a new gateway to Presque Isle.
At 2:14 a.m. Thursday the first of two support arches for Waldameer Park & Water World's new wooden roller coaster, the Ravine Flyer II, was placed across Peninsula Drive.
The crew erecting the supports had hoped to put up both arches Thursday morning, but only completed the southern galvanized-steel arch before they had to reopen the road at 6 a.m., said Steve Reed, project superintendent for Mekis Construction, which is building the bridges.
"We knew it was a stretch," Reed said. "Everything went fine tonight, but sometimes you just don't get as much done as you hope.
"We figured it would take two nights, we just didn't know what we'd do the second night."
The arches are assembled from eight prefabricated galvanized steel pieces. The four pieces that contact the ground were set up and supported Monday and Tuesday. Early Thursday morning a crew joined the two center pieces of the southern bridge and hoisted them into position.
Bridge assembly: http://www.goerie.com/video/waldameerbridge
Reed said that the second bridge would be completed late Thursday or early this morning.
If the weather turns to freezing rain, the crew will have to complete the second arch Monday.
Together, both bridges weigh about 55 tons, Reed said, and are designed to hold a 300-ton load. The 165-foot-bridge will attach to the crossbeams on each arch, and a walkway will go along the main supports.
Crews will start work on that walkway as early as next week, Reed said.
"Roller coaster design is a science, as well as an art: a state of pure bliss".