(See related posts and public comments here and here)
"....It was quite a feat getting the Cliffhanger here from Branson, Mo., where it sat idle at the Celebration City amusement park from 2009-2011, Heard said.
The Italian-made ride was new when it was erected in Branson, and ran for about five years before it was shut down for financial reasons, she explained.
Adventure Park maintenance manager Kelly Bates (known as “the master” among the park's crew) is project manager for the Cliffhanger.
Bates knew of the idled ride, and started negotiating to buy it before it was even advertised for sale, Heard said.
She said the Adventure Park was competing against Elitch Gardens in Denver and Darien Lake Theme Park near Buffalo, New York, to buy the used coaster.
The negotiations resulted in a purchase price of $375,000 for the roller coaster, Heard said. The total cost of disassembly, repairs made to the structure in Branson and to the cars in Florida, and reassembly in Glenwood Springs is expected to be about $800,000.
The Adventure Park bought 1,400 new bolts for the reassembly, including 700 special bolts, 14 inches long with metric threads, used to hold the sections of track together.
“That's 50 grand just in hardware,” she said of the bolts.
Then came the difficulty of transporting the disassembled, refurbished structure to Glenwood Springs.
Heard said it was difficult to sign up a dozen independent truckers, the number needed to ship the disassembled structure to Glenwood Springs.
The difficulty, she said, was that “there's not much return freight” for trucks to pick up once they unload in Glenwood, and an empty truck is something independent truckers try to avoid.
Instead, Heard said, the Beckleys turned to shipping brokers, who were able to find the needed trucks.
But sometimes several rigs would show up at once, both in Branson to pick up their loads and in Glenwood Springs to unload, she said, prompting a mad scramble for work crews.
“It was feast or famine,” Heard said with a wry expression.
Once the trucks arrived in Glenwood Springs, the loads had to be hauled up the mountain to the Adventure Park site.
That job went to Bates, who would meet the trucks at the gondola base and immediately lead them up Transfer Trail. He stayed mum about the steep, twisty route they were about to drive up.
“We had all these flatland truckers with no experience in mountain driving,” Heard recalled.
“A lot of them didn't quite appreciate being suckered into that,” Heard laughed. “None of them made a second trip....” (Read more? Click title)
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