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191-foot roller coaster coming to Silverwood

It will make other roller coasters at Silverwood Theme Park look like Tinker Toys.

That’s the report the North Idaho theme park’s maintenance workers called in via cell phone as they hung suspended at the top of the 191-foot coaster at Six Flags Great America in Illinois.

The coaster, being dismantled and shipped to Silverwood in more than 50 truckloads, is being billed as the park’s “largest and most expensive attraction ever.”

“It will truly be a thrill ride unlike anyone in the Northwest has ever seen,” Silverwood Promotions Manager Layne Pitcher said.

Standing twice as tall as Silverwood’s tallest coaster, the ride will take thrill-seekers skyward at a 90-degree angle, down a 177-foot drop, through two loops and then climb again before dropping riders to do the whole thing again backward.

At speeds of up to 65 mph, the ride has a pull of 4.5 G-forces, Pitcher said.

The roller coaster is being purchased from Six Flags Great America and will be reassembled at Silverwood and open by July, Silverwood spokeswoman Nancy DiGiammarco said.

Installation is expected to cost more than $3 million. Park owner Gary Norton said the purchase price is being negotiated.

Reviews of the coaster are mixed, according to posts on coaster enthusiast Web sites and online forums.

The coaster, known as Deja Vu at Six Flags, was down for repairs and maintenance much of the time, some complained. Others lauded the boomerang-style coaster and said it’s definitely worth riding.

DiGiammarco said the coaster, which opened at Six Flags in 2001, did have a lot of downtime initially.

“That was addressed when we first decided to purchase it,” DiGiammarco said.

She said the kinks have been worked out and the ride was down just 2 percent of the time last year.

“All of the flaws in the original design when it first premiered have been addressed, corrected, fixed,” DiGiammarco said.

Six Flags put the coaster up for sale after deciding to shift the focus of its Chicago-area theme park, which will debut an indoor roller coaster this year based on an upcoming Batman film.

Meanwhile, the Silverwood-bound coaster marks the latest of several large-scale attractions added in recent years. Silverwood’s Boulder Beach water park doubled in size last season.

Norton said another food court will be added in Boulder Beach this year and Lindy’s Restaurant is being renovated.

A beautification project that started last year will continue. Norton said he hopes for the theme park to eventually have a botanical garden feel on the level of Canada’s renowned Butchart Gardens.

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