Xcelerator Amusement Attraction

Project Description

Client: Knott’s Berry Farm
Location: Knott’s Berry Farm, CA
Project: Xcelerator Amusement Attraction

The Xcelerator is a high-speed thrill ride at Knott’s Berry Farm.  The ride hydraulically launches a train holding 20 passengers to reach a top speed of 82 mph in 2.3 seconds.  The train travels through a vertical 205-foot ascent and immediate descent at a 90-degree angle.  The track encompasses a total of 2,201 feet.  The extreme speeds and changes of direction produce relatively large forces on the supporting pile foundation system.

The Challenges

Albus & Associates, Inc., was retained to investigate the site to characterize geotechnical conditions and provide design parameters.  Our investigation included drilling borings to a maximum depth of 50 feet and selected sampling of soils encountered.  Our recommendations included design parameters for single and group capacities of free- and fixed-head piles.  Each side of the tower required a pile group consisting of 20 piles in a non-symmetrical configuration.  

During construction, representatives of Albus & Associates, Inc., were present to observe and test the contractor’s work to verify compliance with our recommendations.  Our services consisted of providing soils engineering and materials testing for construction of the ride foundations, queue station, and other site improvements.  Our services included observation of excavations for CIDH piles, inspection and sampling of fresh concrete placed for the CIDH piles, preparation of concrete compression specimens, performing concrete compression tests to verify specified strengths, and observation and testing of structural backfill placed for utilities and around structures.