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Star-Telegram.com

Major redesign on Texas Giant coaster begins at Six Flags

Posted Thursday, Jul. 19, 2012

By JOHN AUSTIN

jaustin@star-telegram.com

ARLINGTON -- At a signal from Bugs Bunny, a yellow bulldozer pulled a chunk out of the Texas Giant roller coaster Monday morning, starting a $10 million renovation of the wooden ride that has been carrying Six Flags passengers since 1990.

When the dust cleared, a four-man chainsaw crew went to work under blustery skies as a crowd of employees looked on.

“Most of the structure will remain,” said Steve Martindale, park president, noting that the timbers are pressure treated and "should last 30 to 50 years.” The portion removed, he said, "needed to come out anyway" as part of a redesign.

There will be big changes will be to the track and cars. Martindale promised a steeper, faster ride loaded with special effects.

“The profile is going to be substantially different,” Martindale said. “We’re probably going to change 15 percent of the track configuration.”

The project is supposed to be finished in time for opening day, 2011.

Gene Moore, lead man at the park’s carpentry shop, has logged nearly 21 years at the park. Since the Texas Giant opened he’s been part of the team that inspects the ride to make sure it doesn’t come undone . On Monday he drove the bulldozer that pulled part of the frame down.

“I’ve spent many a day up on that thing,” said Moore, who’s looking forward to the next version of the giant. “It’s gonna be interesting.”

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