Great America to build fastest wooden coaster

Six Flags Great America says a new wooden roller coaster it plans to build will be the fastest such ride in the world, sending thrill-seekers barreling over the tracks at up to 72 mph.

The theme park north of Chicago says it'll break two other records for wooden coasters: It will have the tallest drop at 180 feet and the steepest drop at 85 degrees.

“Six Flags Great America is known for introducing record-breaking and first-of-its-kind roller coasters,” said Hank Salemi, Six Flags Great America park president. “Goliath will be unmatched — setting not only one, but three world records and featuring two inversions. All of the ride elements, including an 85-degree plunge down the tallest drop on a wooden roller coaster, make Goliath the most extreme wooden roller coaster in the world.”

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Advances in technology have made it possible for wooden roller coasters to ramp up on speeds and inversions --or features that send riders up-side-down.  Deemed the “world’s first upside-down, underground wooden roller coaster,” Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park in Wisconsin added stomach-churning inversions to its rebranded Hades 360. Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo. added a new wooden coaster with inversions named “Outlaw Run” with not one, but two barrel rolls.

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Construction on Great America's Goliath begins this fall, and it is scheduled to open in spring of 2014.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.