Busch Gardens Tampa has moved to deny rumors that the opening date of the Cheetah Hunt rollercoaster could be delayed, after reports that engineering miscalculations could impact on the project.
Cheetah Hunt is set to open to the public on May 27, 2011, with the park having announced the arrival of the coaster's trains earlier this week. On Wednesday, Screamscape reported rumors that major issues encountered during construction could force that date to be pushed back, but Busch Gardens Tampa has now reassured fans that the issues have already been factored into construction plans.
The biggest problem claimed to be affecting the ride was the level of clearance on a section of track which passes over the park's Skyride attraction. Rumors pointed to a serious miscalculation having resulted in the two attractions being too close together. However, the park has now addressed this in a statement saying that planned work already includes "lowering certain Skyride towers near the area where the track 'jumps' the cable".
Screamscape also claims that an issue with water seeping into one of trenches that form part of Cheetah Hunt's course remains to be resolved. The park does not explicitly address this in its statement, but continues to express confidence that the ride will open in time for the Memorial Day weekend.
Busch Gardens Tampa has invested more than $20 million in building Cheetah Hunt and the accompanying Cheetah Run live animal exhibit. Construction is nearing completion, with ninety percent of the ride's track in place and twelve out of a total of fourteen cheetahs having arrived at the park.
The new coaster will be themed around the speed and agility of real-life cheetahs, and will feature three launch sections that will propel riders to speeds of 30, 60 and 40 miles per hour respectively. In total, the ride's circuit will extend for 4,429 feet, and will include a 130-feet drop, banked turns, a heartline inversion and a parabola that will give riders a sensation of weightlessness ("airtime") for 3 seconds.
Alongside the new coaster, the Cheetah Run live animal exhibit will include special viewing areas that will enable guests to view the world's fastest land animals up-close. Guests wishing to learn more about the animals will be able to access information via touchscreen computer terminals.
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