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First Steel for Freedom Tower Arrives in U.S. After Multi-Leg, 4,700-Mile Journey

First Steel for Freedom Tower Arrives in U.S. After Multi-Leg, 4,700-Mile Journey

Sep 29, 2006
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Jumbo steel columns, some as long as a five-story building and weighing a total of 806 tons, have arrived in the U.S. from a Luxembourg mill where they were produced, World Trade Center Developer Larry A. Silverstein, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr., and Tishman Construction Corporation Chairman Daniel R. Tishman announced today.

The last of four shipments arrived today in Baltimore aboard the Atlantic Conveyor, which will then travel to Portsmouth, Virginia, for unloading on Saturday, September 30 (images of other Freedom Tower steel that arrived in the United States earlier this month are available at www.wtc.com).

The latest steel to arrive, along with two previous loads that arrived at Portsmouth and one at Camden, New Jersey – totaling 51 extra-large columns of various weights and lengths – are being trucked to a fabrication yard in Lynchburg, Virginia. There, fabricator Banker Steel L.L.C., will weld cover plates to the sides of the steel, forming “built-up” columns that measure up to 42 by 30 inches in cross-section, and weigh upwards of 2,440 pounds per foot. In industry jargon, “built-up” refers to steel columns or girders that are created by the addition of steel plates to already large I-beams, resulting in single entities which cannot be produced in mills because of their size but which are required for the world’s biggest structures.

The fabricated members leaving Lynchburg will eventually comprise the first 27 “extra-large” columns in Freedom Tower’s below-grade structure and are scheduled to be delivered to the World Trade Center site by the end of the year. The total length of the steel’s four-leg journey originating in Luxembourg and ending in New York City is approximately 4,700 miles.

Governor George E. Pataki said, “The arrival of steel for the construction for the Freedom Tower is yet another critical milestone in the building of a great icon that will symbolize our steadfast commitment to our most cherished value–freedom. Reclaiming our glorious skyline and creating a testament to our resiliency as a people, a city, and a country in the wake of the attacks, the Freedom Tower will be New York’s gift to America, and America’s icon for the world. The steel that arrives today, will soon make its way to Lynchburg, Virginia, where it will be turned into built-up super-sized steel columns for the Freedom Tower.”

“The arrival of Freedom Tower steel in America is a vivid reminder that construction is marching forward as planned. I anxiously await the day, later this year, when these massive steel beams will travel through Lower Manhattan and on to the World Trade Center site,” said Mr. Silverstein, who is developing the Freedom Tower on behalf of the Port Authority.

Added Mr. Ringler, “We’re pleased to be moving forward quickly and aggressively to build the Freedom Tower, along with the Transportation Hub and the Memorial at the World Trade Center site. By January, the public will see these steel beams rising from the base of the tower, which is an important milestone as we move toward our scheduled 2011 opening for the building.”

“Another leg in the journey of Freedom Tower’s steel is complete and we look forward to the final step when the columns are delivered and erected at the WTC site,” said Mr. Tishman, whose company is managing construction of the Freedom Tower. “We extend our sincere thanks to everyone who has been involved in this historic process.”

The Voyage from Europe to America

Four different ships made the trans-Atlantic voyages to deliver the columns, measuring 22.5 inches high by 18 inches wide, to two port cities, Portsmouth, VA, and Camden, NJ. Initially, the steel was transported by train from the Arcelor mill in Differdange, Luxembourg, where it was produced, before being loaded onto ships bound for America at the port of Antwerp, Belgium.

Arriving in Portsmouth after 14- to16-day voyages were the Atlantic Cartier, Atlantic Conveyor, and Atlantic Compass. These vessels delivered a collective total of 48 columns that range in length from approximately 31 feet to 56.5 feet and weigh between 11.2 and 20.6 tons. The port of Camden, NJ received the steel payload from the Clipper Faith after a 14-day journey, carrying one 32-foot-long column weighing 9.7 tons and two 56-foot-long pieces weighing 20.5 tons each.

Steel Is First of 50,000 Tons Required to Build Freedom Tower

The first awarded structural steel contract covers steel framing directly above the PATH tracks and column sections for the Freedom Tower. The steel columns will support the skyscraper’s perimeter columns as part of the steel for the below-grade infrastructure. Total height of the substructure columns will be 75 to 85 feet, and will rise above sidewalk level about 15 feet. Approximately 50,000 tons of steel in total will be used to build the Freedom Tower.

The Freedom Tower will soar a symbolic 1,776 feet and include 2.6 million square feet of office space, plus tenant amenity spaces, an observation deck, world-class restaurants, and broadcast and antennae facilities – all supported by above- and below-grade mechanical infrastructure for the building and its adjacent public spaces. Below-grade shopping and access to the New Jersey PATH and NYC subway trains, as well as to the World Financial Center, will also be provided.

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