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First Steel Produced for Historic Freedom Tower

First Steel Produced for Historic Freedom Tower

Apr 26, 2006
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Approximately 805 tons of steel are being produced in Luxembourg to create the first 27 “extra-large” steel columns of the Freedom Tower, 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 steel will serve as part of the below-grade structure for the historic Freedom Tower and will be delivered to the World Trade Center site by the end of the year.

Production of the first steel for the Freedom Tower began this week at a plant in Differdange, Luxembourg that specializes in producing the heaviest I-beams available in the world, called “Jumbo Sections.” Arcelor, one of the world’s largest steel companies, is making the high-strength, “grade 65” steel columns that are being supplied for this project. Despite being one of the smallest countries in the world, Luxembourg is a heavy-weight in terms of steel production. Historically, the presence of rich iron ore reserves in the south and the use of modern techniques makes steel producing and processing a booming sector for the country.

Governor George E. Pataki said, “As we approach the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Lower Manhattan’s resurgence is being forged in concrete and steel. The production of over 800 tons of steel for the first columns is yet another milestone in the construction of the 1,776 foot tall Freedom Tower which will be a beacon of hope and a symbol of our unconquerable spirit.”

“With the start of steel production for the below-grade structure, we remain right on track to meet our construction deadlines for the Freedom Tower,” said Mr. Silverstein, who is developing the Freedom Tower for the Port Authority under a Conceptual Framework agreement scheduled to be finalized in September. “This is another important step in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center and the revitalization of Downtown Manhattan.”

“This is evidence of the tremendous progress we continue to make toward our goal of rebuilding the World Trade Center site, which includes this iconic tower,” Mr. Ringler said. “While we have spent years doing necessary behind-the-scenes engineering and design work for this project, the sight of steel being erected on the site beginning early next year will be visual evidence for the public that work is rapidly moving forward.”

“The steel being produced by the mill in Luxembourg is a tangible sign of progress in the building of Freedom Tower,” said Mr. Tishman. “It’s exciting to see the design drawings transformed into reality, and a true honor to be part of the team leading this historic rebuilding effort.”

Multiple Steps in the Journey from Luxembourg to New York

The process for producing the steel columns includes several steps: Melting scrap metal in an electrical arc furnace and casting it into near final shapes which are then reheated and sent through a rolling mill to achieve the final I-beam shapes. Once the steel members are cooled, Arcelor cuts them into specified lengths and takes samples to test their mechanical and chemical properties. The final-product I-beams will eventually comprise 27 columns in Freedom Tower’s below-grade structure. The I-beams are 22.5 inches high by 18 inches wide and weigh 730 pounds per foot, and range in length from 30 – 56 feet for shipping.

In late August, 2006, the steel will be shipped by vessel from Antwerp, Belgium and will arrive at the port of Camden, New Jersey, in September. From there, the fabricator, Banker Steel Company, L.L.C., will truck the steel to its facility in Lynchburg, Virginia. There, they will be made into “built-up” columns by welding plates to their sides, forming columns that are up to 42 by 30 inches in cross-section, and weighing upwards of 2,440 pounds per foot. In industry jargon, “built-up” refers to steel columns or girders that are too big to be produced in mills, but which are required for the world’s biggest structures.

An historical note: The steel for the original WTC Twin Towers’ core section was fabricated in the same facility in Lynchburg, which Banker Steel purchased from Montague-Betts, its previous owner, about nine years ago.


Luxembourg Steel Is First of 50,000 Tons Required for Freedom Tower

The first awarded structural steel contract covers steel framing directly above the PATH tracks and column sections for the Freedom Tower. Serving as the steel for the below-grade infrastructure, the steel columns will support the skyscraper’s superstructure perimeter columns. 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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