September 11, 2006
This month, a ship from Antwerp will set off to the U.S. containing the first pieces of New York’s Freedom Tower. Twenty-seven “Jumbo Sections,” or super-heavy steel I-beams, were fabricated at an Arcelor plant in Differdange, Luxembourg, in August to become part of the below-grade structure of the Freedom Tower; together the pieces weigh 805 tons.
The steel will cover the framing above the PATH, as well as column sections for the Freedom Tower. Producing these giants, shown in these photographs, involves melting and casting scrap metal, and then reheating and rolling the raw steel in order to shape it into I-beam form. Once the components arrive at the port of Camden, New Jersey, fabricator Banker Steel Company will weld plates to their sides, forming columns that are up to 42 by 30 inches in cross-section, a size too big to have been achieved in a mill. (They will arrive at the Lynchburg, Virginia, facility measuring a mere 22.5x18 inches in cross-section.)
When erected at the World Trade Center later this year, the substructure columns will rise about 15 feet above sidewalk level. And although they will provide evidence that there’s more to the Freedom Tower than a giant pit, this first step really is just a first, if symbolic, baby step: the building will ultimately comprise 50,000 tons of steel.