Coatesville’s ArcelorMittal ‘forges’ its way as steel industry leader

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Local steel plant leverages proud history, manufacturing expertise and strong community support

By Kim Chiomento, News Editor, The Times

COATESVILLE – For 205 years, the United States’ oldest, continuously operating steel mill has called Chester County home. Currently owned and operated by ArcelorMittal – USA, the plant has a fascinating history of providing essential components to many of the nation’s most renowned infrastructure projects and military equipment designs.

I Lift NY supercrane in front of pier 7 & 8

Aerial view of the new Tappen Zee Bridge project

Home to 830 employees, today the Coatesville facility is playing a key role in one of the largest construction contracts ever awarded in New York and the country – the rebuilding of the Tappen Zee Bridge. 


The original trans-Hudson Tappen Zee Bridge was built in 1955, and was designed to transport a maximum of 100,000 commuters daily. Recent estimates put that number closer to 140,000 commuters every day, well over its design capacity. Due to excessive wear and tear and related expensive fixes, the lack of pull-off shoulders and areas for emergency services vehicles to access; it was deemed necessary to rebuild this landmark bridge.

A worker carefully navigates across the new bridge's steel girders.

A worker carefully navigates across the new bridge’s steel girders.

Ed Frey, General Manager Eastern Plate Operations – Arcelor Mittal – USA (AM-USA), explained to The Times that they are producing custom steel plates ranging from about .375” to 3.5” thick.  Frey says, “These steel plates have been specifically designed to withstand the traffic the Tapan Zee will encounter over its estimated 100 year life span.”  The plates are manufactured at AM-USA’s Coatesville and Conshokocken, PA, plants along with its Burns Harbor, IN, facility. After manufacturing, they are then shipped to three bridge fabricators where the plates are cut, assembled and transported to the construction site.

Frey also explained, “Our steel also stands tall and proud in One World Trade Center.  The skyscraper contains 11,000 tons of plate from our Coatesville plant and more than 15,000 tons of our world-famous jumbo beams from AM’s Differdange – Luxemborg facility in its structural frame.”   Coatesville has also supplied world class steel to the following notable projects, in numerous industries, including:

  • US Navy aircraft carriers Saratoga and Forrestal, and the Nautilus, the first atomic powered submarine.
  • The hull, flight deck, and plane launchers of the navy’s first nuclear-powered carrier, The Enterprise.
  • Plates for the new U.S. Navy’s ships named for the sites of the 9/11 tragedies: USS New York, USS Arlington and the USS Somerset.
  • The Verrazano Bridge, New York, N.Y.
  • The Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Mo.

ArcelorMittal’s website places a focus on steel as a sustainable product and the company takes pride in the recycled component of its state of the art products.  The Times asked a bit more about the process, the source of its recycled materials and was surprised to learn the following:  “Steel is the most recycled material in the world, more than aluminum, paper, gas and plastic combined,” explained Frey, “It is 100% recyclable, easily sorted (given its magnetism) and can be infinitely recycled without loss of quality. “  In 2014, more than 30% of each ton of steel AM-USA produced was comprised of recycled materials.

The I Lift NY super crane places an immense steel girder assembly on the new bridge's concrete piers.

The I Lift NY super crane places an immense steel girder assembly on the new bridge’s concrete piers.

Frey says, “The scrap used at our Coatesville plant is purchased locally from things like scrapped cars, building demolitions and factory bundles.  This process ensures that the end of one steel product’s life cycle is just the beginning of another.”

Frey also explained, “AM-USA also plays an important role in the communities surrounding its facilities, investing more than $2.9 million in PA community organizations since 2009, including nearly $600,000 in 2014 alone…In Coatesville, we are proud of our partnerships with Brandywine Health Foundation, Brandywine Valley Association, Caln Elementary School,  Coatesville Fire Department and many other important community nonprofit groups…AM-USA has been instrumental in the building of the new Chester County Public Safety Training Facility and continue to support Coatesville’s newest nonprofit organization, the Coatesville Youth Initiative.

The public can tune into a webcam streaming Tappen Zee Bridge construction updates via the following link:  For more information on ArcelorMittal, visit its corporate website:    Send article as PDF   

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