Kennywood’s Steel Curtain coaster is on track for summer |
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JoAnne Klimovich Harrop

This new Steel Curtain is quite intimidating, and its name is fitting.

Inspired by the Pittsburgh Steelers stifling defense of the 1970s, The Steel Curtain roller coaster at Kennywood in West Mifflin is massive and well on its way to throwing its riders for a loop.

Media members toured around the coaster Wednesday.

“Where else would you rather be than at an amusement park on the first day of spring?” Kennywood spokesman Nick Paradise said before the tour began.

About half of the nine inversions are in place. Most of the pieces are coming from the United States with a few from out of the country, Paradise said. The longest piece is 50 feet.

The Steel Curtain is expected to be completed by early summer.

The ride is expected to set several records when completed, including tallest roller coaster in Pennsylvania — 220 feet.

This will be the park’s eighth roller coaster. Founded in 1898, Kennywood was named a National Landmark in 1987.

The marriage between Kennywood and the Steelers is a perfect one, said Ryan Huzjak, vice-president of sales and marketing for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“We see a passion at Heinz Field for the Steelers and this is a different way for fans to connect with the Steelers,” Huzjak said. “There are lots of family traditions at Heinz Field and there are also lots of family traditions at Kennywood, which is a great family environment. This coaster and Steelers Country at Kennywood are inclusive for everybody. The Steelers and Kennywood are a great match.”

Former Steelers outside linebacker Bill Priatko of Irwin works at one of the concession stands.

“This is wonderful,” he said. “This will go nationwide and people will come here from all over the country to ride this ride. I didn’t realize it was this big.”

Before anyone rides, there has to be a number of inspections and test runs, including some with weights to imitate bodies riding the roller coaster, said Kennywood General Manager Jerome Gibas said.

Will Gibas take a ride?

“No,” he said. “I get dizzy going upside down.”

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