Newport SkyWheel scheduled to open late 2018

NEWPORT, Ky. -- SkyWheel Attractions selected a national architecture firm on Friday to design portions of Newport’s $13 million ferris wheel, including an 80-foot bridge to connect the attraction to the levee.

Woolpert will design the site and base structure for the 160-ton SkyWheel, which will be built in the Newport Festival Park area, just north of the Newport Aquarium and Mitchell’s Fish Market on the river side of the levee. Newport’s SkyWheel is slated to be complete by late 2018.

The attraction will stand 235 feet above the Ohio River, and it will have 30 gondolas that hold six passengers each.

Woolpert Engineering Project Manager Mike Timko said the SkyWheel’s base structure will be similar to an overpass to allow for traffic in the Festival Park area.

“SkyWheel Newport will bisect the park, so the base is being designed on columns approximately 25 feet high,” Timko said in a statement. “This will alleviate the city of Newport’s concerns regarding access to or from other park attractions, and will allow vehicles as large as fire and emergency equipment and semis (semitractor-trailers) to travel beneath it. All of the festival tents and food vendors, etc., can be brought in the same as they are today.”

Plans for the attraction have been in the works for several years, but they had to be modified so the SkyWheel wouldn’t compromise the levee’s flood protection.

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