Skip to Main Content

Carowinds

Skip to Next Section

The Foundations of Copperhead Strike

Scott Gerbereux

Digital Marketing Manager

As we introduce Copperhead Strike, here's a look behind the construction fence at what’s already been set in stone – well, reinforced concrete.

The drilling company that created the foundations for Intimidator is back to perform the excavation work for Copperhead Strike. They began digging on June 4 and are scheduled to complete their portion of the project in October. 

Caissons (also called “piers”) are created by auguring a deep hole into the ground, and then filling it with concrete. A drilled pier is a deep foundation system, more commonly referred to as “footers," that is constructed by placing concrete and reinforcing steel into a shaft.

Shafts between 15' - 20' in depth are made while temporary steel casings are used to maintain the sides of the drilled excavation. Three drill rigs are digging caissons for Copperhead Strike, supported by two cranes to move drill bits to the rigs:

copperhead strike construction

Approximately 240 caisson holes will be dug for this project. A caisson is designed to rest on an underlying stratum of rock. Carowinds sits above a shelf of granite that spans the entire park. In some parts, this layer of bedrock is as close as 8 feet from the surface. A rock auger bit, pictured below, is used to cut through the granite. Cages protect poured foundation holes and caps cover exposed reinforcing bars (rebar):

copperhead strike construction

Rebar is inserted into and runs the full length of the hole and then concrete is poured into the caisson. When the concrete sets and hardens around the bars, we get a new composite material, reinforced concrete, which works well in either tension or compression - important for handling the positive and negative gravitational forces created by a roller coaster:

copperhead strike construction

It takes concrete about 28 days to reach its full strength and hardness. Cylinders of concrete from every truck are collected and the compressive strength is tested at 7, 14 and 28-day intervals. The inspection of concrete is essential to check for defects that may require repair.

Once caissons are filled with concrete and rebar, the ground around the shaft is excavated into a square and then more concrete is poured to form a "mud mat":

copperhead strike construction

This concrete layer provides a good work area to keep the rebar and formwork clean while preparing to construct a pier cap:

copperhead strike construction

Anchor bolts, which will eventually secure track supports to the pier cap, are precisely positioned. Two surveyors inspect their orientation prior to being secured in reinforced concrete. Once the concrete sets, the anchor bolts' location in the pier cap are checked for a third time. If done correctly, the slots in the track supports will fit over the anchor bolts like a Lego set:

The first two shipments of track supports arrived on August 7 and were transported to the laydown yard - an area outside the worksite where materials are stored until they are needed: 

copperhead strike construction


Most of the work to date has taken place below ground level. We are going vertical in late September, when track supports are secured to the anchor bolts. Over the coming months, there will be so much progress to share. Follow along for more inside looks at the Carolinas' first double launch coaster - COPPERHEAD STRIKE!

Share This

Scott Gerbereux

Digital Marketing Manager

Post a Comment

Skip to Next Section

Test Title

Let Us Entertain You – WinterFest Live Shows

WinterFest is packed with world-class live entertainment! With more than 10 shows each night, you'll always be entertained and filled with the holiday spirit. Here's your guide to WinterFest entertainment for the 2018 season.
Read More

Holiday Date Night at WinterFest

'Tis the season for romance! If cuddling up by the fire and watching your favorite Christmas movie sounds like your typical holiday date, it's time to change things up. WinterFest is filled with magical experiences for you and your significant other that you won't find anywhere else!
Read More

The Best Holiday Food – WinterFest at Carowinds

It's the most delicious time of the year! Delight your taste buds at WinterFest with our special seasonal menu created by our executive chef with you in mind. Indulge in your favorite traditional holiday dishes, or enjoy one of our chef's newest concoctions, complete with a southern twist!
Read More

Holiday Decorating Tips: How to Make the Perfect Bow

Who doesn't love decorating for the holidays? Our expert WinterFest decorators share some tips and tricks for making the perfect holiday bow for all of your decorating and gift wrapping needs!
Read More

October Copperhead Strike Construction Update

Construction on Copperhead Strike is quickly moving along. Here's your behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Carolinas' first double launch coaster!
Read More

Oh, What Fun it is to Ride - WinterFest 2018

The holidays are right around the corner, and so is another season of family fun at WinterFest! Every year, our guests can't wait to find out which of their favorite rides will be open for the holiday season. Here's your guide of up to 23 Carowinds' staples sure to give you some holiday cheer!
Read More

Blue Ridge Junction

2019 is going to be a season full of new experiences at Carowinds! Our new, immersive themed area of the park, Blue Ridge Junction, will serve as the backdrop for all of the new, exciting things coming our way.
Read More

What's New at WinterFest in 2018?

WinterFest returns this November, as Carowinds magically transforms into a winter wonderland with spectacular holiday experiences to ignite the season’s spirit. This year, WinterFest is packed with more fun and excitement than ever before with these new, festive attractions!
Read More

Ashton and the Dinosaurs

Ashton Bridges was recovering from a bone marrow transplant when he saw Dinosaurs Alive! on a Carowinds TV commercial. "Can we go see them?" he asked his mom. But a compromised immune system made it impossible to bring Ashton to a crowded amusement park. That wasn't going to stop Nana B.
Read More

The Great Pumpkin Fest – "Pumpkin Patch 2.0"

Fall is here! That’s right, it’s time for pumpkin decorating, Halloween costumes, trick-or-treating and outdoor games. The Great Pumpkin Fest, located in and around the new Camp Snoopy, has you covered for all these things and more - think of it as a “pumpkin patch 2.0.”
Read More