As part of Navy Pier's massive Centennial Vision redevelopment project, McHugh constructed and installed the new Ferris wheel which, at 196 feet high, is almost 50 feet larger than the old wheel constructed in 1995. Designed and manufactured by Dutch Wheels in the Netherlands, the state-of-the-art DW60 model is the first and only one of its kind in the country. Named the Centennial Wheel to commemorate Navy Pier's 100th anniversary, it features 42 new gondolas that hold up to 8 passengers each. Amenities in the gondolas include padded seats, interactive media screens, speakers, and a climate control system with Low-e safety glass to ensure that passengers ride in comfort.
The project posed some unique challenges for McHugh including an extremely compact and restricted construction site; a limited load capacity on the Pier that necessitated a specific crane sequence to ensure the structures below were protected; high winds, extreme cold, and an uncharacteristically wet spring; not to mention that the popular tourist attraction remained open to the public during construction so crews had to minimize any impact to operations, employees, and visitors.
Centennial Wheel By The Numbers