Locally made steel will help replace New York's longest bridge

2014-03-13T00:00:00Z 2014-03-13T12:51:12Z Locally made steel will help replace New York's longest bridgeJoseph S. Pete joseph.pete@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com

Everything about the Gov. Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge is big.

The seven-lane Tappan Zee Bridge carries 138,000 vehicles a day over one of the widest points of the Hudson River about 25 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. The toll to cross it is now $5 if paid in cash, but could rise to $14. The 16,000-foot-long bridge is the longest in New York state, and replacing it is the biggest bridge project in state history.

Construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge is in fact the biggest transportation design-build project in U.S. history, according to Infra Insight, a blog that tracks infrastructure projects.

New York plans to spend $3.9 billion to replace the massive cantilever bridge in the lower Hudson Valley, and will do so with steel made in Northwest Indiana.

Three of ArcelorMittal USA's plate mills, including ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor, are furnishing steel for the bridge. The Burns Harbor facility supplied high-performance steel for the bridge pilings last year, and will continue to provide high-performance steel to the steel fabricators High Industries and Hirschfeld Industries Bridge, who are two of the major contractors on the project.

"We are very pleased to have been selected to provide our high-performance plate material for this major, historic infrastructure project," said ArcelorMittal USA Plate CEO John Battisti. "Our USA plate team has been keenly involved in weekly meetings with our customers on the planning, development and delivery of these plate products, to ensure they are pleased with our performance during all phases of the project."

ArcelorMittal expects to provide about 160,000 tons of plate for the project.

"We have unique combined capabilities at all three of our plate facilities to supply 100 percent of the plate product: lighter gauge plate from Conshohocken, wide and heavy plate from Coatesville and long quench and temper plate from Burns Harbor," said Jayne Atherton, division manager, order fulfillment and customer service plate for ArcelorMittal USA. "This capability combination is unavailable anywhere else in the world and really sets us apart from our competitors."

The inclusion of Porter County-made steel plate in the new Tappan Zee Bridge bucks a trend where steel made in China has been used in major infrastructure projects. China-made steel was recently used in the Verranzano-Narrows Bridge in New York City, and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

American Institute of Steel Construction president Roger Ferch said the contract shows the U.S. steel industry remains competitive.

"The award of the Tappan Zee structural steel contract to the team of fabricators High Steel Structures Inc. and Hirschfeld Industries, with material supply by ArcelorMittal USA, validates the fact that the United States steel construction industry has the capacity, capability and collaborative spirit to meet our nation's needs," he said.

After 15 years of planning, New York is looking at replacing the current Tappan Zee Bridge with a 3.1-mile twin span cable-stayed bridge with angled main span towers. It is the single largest bridge construction project in the history of New York state.

Work is expected to be finished in 2018. The new bridge is designed to last 100 years without any significant structural maintenance.

"We are in the very early stages of supplying material for this project," Atherton said. "We were awarded the business because of the proximity of our Eastern plate mills to the fabrication location, and due to the longstanding favorable business relationships with both fabrication companies."

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