The Federal Aviation Administration has extended a deadline for Busch Gardens Williamsburg to start construction on what is expected to be a new roller coaster.
In September 2019, the park sought and received a FAA height waiver to build a new structure as tall as 355 feet above ground level in the Oktoberfest section. The waiver was required due to the park’s proximity to the small Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport.
According to 2020 reports from BGWFans.com, the project would be a shuttle coaster with multiple launches, potentially among the tallest and fastest coasters in the world, and would open in 2021.
Like so much else in the theme park industry, those plans have been delayed by COVID-19. The new FAA filing, however, extends the height waiver’s expiration until September 2022 to start building the rumored giga coaster.
It should be noted that the height mentioned in the waiver, 355 feet, will not necessarily match to the final height of the attraction. The FAA filing for Busch Gardens Tampa’s Iron Gwazi is four feet shorter than what was allowed under its waiver. The new coaster’s drop could actually be taller depending on the exact track layout, since the 355-foot height is based on ground level.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg moved to year-round operations for the first time in 2021, though still limiting capacity and available rides. With the kickoff of the park’s Food and Wine Festival on April 2, all 10 villages will once be open for the first time in the COVID-19 era.
Advance reservations are still required to enter the park, and other COVID-19 safeguards remain in place, including requiring face masks and enforcing physical distancing.
The park has yet to announce an opening date for what was supposed to be its 2020 addition, Pantheon, another shuttle coaster marketed as the fastest multi-launch coaster in the U.S.
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