CHICAGO (CBS) — A larger, more modern Ferris Wheel will be built at Navy Pier, replacing the 20-year-old iconic attraction at the state’s most popular tourist destination.
The new ride will be ready for the Pier’s centennial celebration in the summer of 2016, according to a news release from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office.
At 196 feet, it will be 49 feet taller than the current wheel. It can accommodate 10 people in each gondola, which will be climate controlled so that riders can enjoy the attraction all year-long.
The current cars hold six passengers, meaning the new wheel can accommodate 180 more people per run.
The size of the new wheel was selected because it fits in the footprint of the current wheel, officials said. The area will be closed for construction during the off-season months beginning in late September 2015 and re-opening in summer of 2016.
The new DW-60 Ferris wheel is built by Dutch Wheels, the Netherlands-based company that built the Pier’s current wheel.
The DW60 will be the first of its kind in the United States. Similar wheels operate in Hong Kong and Baku, Azerbaijan.
Significant features include two-sided cars that allow for easy loading and unloading, a fortified structure to withstand winds of 115 miles per hour, and safety glass capable of weathering intense storms.
The cost of the new Ferris wheel will be covered by private funding and is part of Navy Pier’s $115 million renovation plan.
The original Ferris Wheel was built for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. It rose to a height of 264 feet, and each car could accommodate about 60 passengers. The tallest Ferris wheel in the world, topping out at 550 feet is the High Roller in Las Vegas, completed in 2014.