SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Our weather can be harsh, and for a roller coaster or a 230 foot tall thrill ride safety is Valleyfair's focus.
"One thing that we watch for is here, in the type of climate that is here, this location, we will watch for the footings. Especially on the coasters, because you might get frost which would lift the footings," said John Dodson, ride inspector with Comspeq Consulting.
From the footings to the track, every inch is inspected on the roller coaster.
Inspections are happening now and Dodson has been checking roller coasters and rides for more than 30 years.
"When we are walking we are looking at the steel, the top steel, the side steel, and the uplift steel. ...We are making sure the steel was secured, we are making sure that there are no cracks in the steel.....We are looking at the wood for any type of rot, anything that might be broken. All connection points, all bolted areas. We average about 1000 ft of track an hour," said Dodson.
For a roller coaster like the Renegade, it can take more than a day to completely inspect.
During the winter, roller coaster trains are taken off the tracks, inspected and x-rayed.
"We are looking for any signs of stress or strain in the tube rails, in the track to tube connections, If we see wear in the track we can do ultrasonic thickness to see what the thickness of that tube is without having to look inside it," said Greg Ebeling, ride inspector with Braun Intertec.
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