At about 17 stories tall, a water slide opening this spring in the Kansas City area is being touted as a contender for the tallest and fastest in the world. (Courtesy: KCTV/CBS)
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -
Officials with Schlitterbahn Waterpark Kansas City said Verruckt, the world's tallest water slide, will open Thursday.
This comes after the ride's initial opening date was moved from May 23 to June 5 to allow for more testing, then pushed back again to June 29.
The official launch of the water slide was delayed three times.
Layne Pitcher, a spokesman for the water park, would not confirm Tuesday the exact time the slide will open on Thursday.
Verruckt, which means insane in German, is 17 stories tall and riders will have to navigate 264 steps to the top before they can take the heart-pounding plunge.
The water slide's co-creator Jeff Henry, who is co-owner of the Texas-based Schlitterbahn franchise, said a variety of issues have delayed the official launch to the public.
"We had many issues on the engineering side," said Henry, who owns 60 patents for innovations such as land-based water surfing and uphill water coasters. "Our correction coefficients were all off. Models didn't show air and water friction. A lot of our math was based on roller coasters at first, and that didn't translate to a water slide like this. No one had ever done anything like this before."
In early tests, rafts carrying sandbags flew off the slide, prompting engineers to tear down half of the ride and reconfigure some angles at a cost of $1 million, Henry said.
The water park has made other changes to Verruckt in a couple of other areas.
Initially, four people would be allowed in the raft, but that number has been scaled back to three.
A weight limit is also in place. The total weight limit of the three riders is now 550 pounds.
Schlitterbahn's season started May 23. The park will be open daily through Aug. 17, after which it will be open two more weekends before the season ends.