Six Flags Over Texas has begun work on the $10 million renovation of its headliner Texas Giant wooden rollercoaster.
The Star Telegram reports that a demolition crew has begun to pull down a section of the existing ride structure. However, the majority of the ride layout is expected to remain the same when the coaster reopens in 2011.
Park president Steve Martindale is quoted as saying that around 15% of the Texas Giant's current track configuration will be changed in the renovation, with the rest of the mammoth budget being spent on new special effects and ensuring the ride becomes smoother and faster. The section shown being demolished in a video on the Star Telegram's website is the turn over the coaster's lift hill, which suggests that changes will be made at the beginning of the track to give the "steeper" ride promised by Martindale.
The renovation will see the Texas Giant return in time for the start of Six Flags Over Texas' 50th anniversary season. It is the second time the ride has been renovated, following a previous renovation nearly ten years ago. The cost of the latest renovation is greater than the original $5.5 million construction cost for the coaster, even when adjusted for inflation.
The Texas Giant opened in 1990 and was the tallest and fastest wooden rollercoaster in the world at the time. However, it has since suffered from frequent complaints by riders that it offers an violent, painful ride.