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Busch Gardens Williamsburg granted 355-foot height waiver extension for future ride

The 355-foot height waiver was originally approved in 2019, but construction at the site has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — As Busch Gardens celebrates the opening of its newest roller coaster, Pantheon, the Williamsburg theme park is already looking ahead to a future big attraction.

Back in 2019 -- before the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into just about everything in our lives -- Busch Gardens requested a 355-foot height waiver for a new ride that would be a “lattice-type” construction, according to planning department documents. It would be located in the park's Oktoberfest section, around the area of the old Drachen Fire rollercoaster.

RELATED: Gone but not forgotten: 30 years since the opening of Drachen Fire at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Neighbors living in the nearby Kingsmill neighborhood voiced concerns over possible sight and noise issues from the park, but ultimately the James City County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the waiver.

Credit: James City County
A map submitted to James City County from Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 2019 shows the approximate location of a new attraction's tallest point.

Part of the approval for the height waiver was that construction on the attraction would commence within 36 months. But in a letter sent to James City County, project manager Anthony Loubier noted that the "pandemic closed the park's operations for nearly 6 months with a slow re-opening back to normal operations."

Loubier added that it resulted in the delay of numerous projects, including this new ride. He requested an extension of another 36 months, and that there are no revisions to any previous details.

Busch Gardens has not publicly announced what the new ride will look like or when it can be expected to be completed, but fan website BGWFans has speculated that, based on leaked documentation, it will be a multi-launch giga shuttle coaster. A giga coaster is a roller coaster that's between 300 feet and 399 feet in height, and if constructed, it would be the first of its kind for Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

No one spoke against the extension during a public hearing at a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, and the board members voted unanimously to extend the waiver for 36 months.

Credit: James City County
An image showing the maximum height for a proposed future attraction at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

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