Construction on schedule for new roller coaster at Dollywood

Engineers work to make sure FireChaser Express will be ready to open in March for Dollywood's season opener.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Construction is on schedule for Dollywood's new Firechaser Express roller coaster which is set to launch in March.

Construction crews have finished with the track and are now working to finish the buildings where riders will load and exit the ride. Dollywood spokesperson Pete Owens says this winter has been a challenge for the crew.

"Just in simple work, trying to complete the buildings and get them weather tight and to get the ride ready to go so we can start testing," said Owens. "We're very very close to the schedule that we've laid out. We feel the ride will open when we're scheduled to open."

Owens says design teams arrived Monday, February 3rd to develop a show concept that will be a part of the launch to send riders backward. FireChaser Express launches twice, traveling forward and backward on a winding 2,427-foot track. The ride begins with the coaster launching from the loading station, while a backward launch near the end of the journey sends FireChaser Express back to the station in the opposite direction.

The $15 million investment is a part of Dollywood's 10 year commitment to expanded development at the theme park. Much of the construction has relied on local Sevier County workers and used local supplies.

"Landscape materials and certainly the lumber and other things that are here are locally sourced," said Owens.

FireChaser Express is scheduled to open on March 21st for season pass holders and to the public on March 22.

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