Construction is moving along on Kings Island’s new record-breaking coaster.
Crews installed the first piece of track Wednesday for the new Banshee coaster, which will become the world’s longest inverted steel coaster when it debuts in spring 2014.
The $24 million project represents the 364-acre Mason amusement park’s largest investment in its 41-year history and is being built with materials produced locally and by Ohio companies, park officials said.
“Construction is right on pace where we anticipated it would be heading into Labor Day weekend,” said Don Helbig, park spokesman.
Banshee marks the first female-inspired ride at a Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. park. In Irish folklore, a banshee is a spirit in the form of a ghostly woman whose mournful wailing at night was believed to foretell the death of a family member.
The coaster is manufactured by Bolliger and Mabillard. The Swiss firm also created Diamondback, the park’s most recent roller coaster which opened in 2009.
Banshee will become the fastest B&M coaster in the nation, surpassing the previous record of 67 mph held by Busch Gardens-Williamsburg’s Alpengeist.
The ride starts with a 167-foot ascent before plunging 150 feet and pitching white-knuckled riders through a dive loop, vertical loop, zero-gravity roller, two batwing inversions, a second vertical loop and a 170 foot heartline finale.
The park opens to the public for four days over Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30 through Sept. 2.
After Labor Day, Kings Island will be open Sept. 8 and then closed until Sept. 20, when Halloween Haunt begins.
Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. owns and operates Kings Island.
Banshee at a glance
Track Length: 4,124.1 feet
Maximum Height: 167 feet
Length of First Drop: 150 feet
Total Loops/Inversions: 7
Total Elevation Change: 208 feet
Fastest Speed: 68 miles per hour
Ride Time: Two minutes, 40 seconds
Hourly Capacity: 1,650 riders