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3. Products that create sustainable infrastructure

The sustainability of every city and state in the U.S. depends on infrastructure. Serving as the backbone of the nation, infrastructure encompasses buildings, transportation, energy systems and products serving the military. Steel is the key to sustainable infrastructure in the United States due to its unmatched strength and longevity combined with the benefits of its environmental footprint.    

Why is this important to us?

Our future as a country and a company depends upon continued investments in infrastructure. The importance of infrastructure, including roads, bridges, railways, hospitals, schools, offices, energy generation and defense, is indisputable.  However, many overlook steel’s integral role in the construction of infrastructure. Through continued innovations, steel supports the sustainability of our infrastructure systems. This is critical during a time when our country is suffering from aging infrastructure and limited funds to support it.  

The commercial imperative

What kind of challenge do we face?

The demand for more sustainable materials from our customers continues to increase. Materials are needed to contribute to lighter buildings, longer lasting transportation solutions and cleaner forms of energy. Steel meets the challenge by proving that its environmental footprint coupled with its strength and availability make it the material of choice for infrastructure solutions.

What do we need to do?

To effectively serve infrastructure sectors, we must communicate steel’s current and potential sustainability contributions. We also must continue to build upon our current range of products by working to make our products even more environmentally friendly, longer lasting and stronger.   

What is the potential to create value?

We are currently meeting much of the nation’s need for sustainable infrastructure solutions. Steel is strong enough to build skyscrapers, versatile enough to meet any construction challenge, and endlessly recyclable at the end of its useful life. Our current steel innovations are already reducing carbon emissions, energy use and costs for our infrastructure customers. Steel products are also creating environmental value through the creation of renewable energy through wind turbines.

Steel stands tall on the shores of the Chicago River

Bridging the gap in our infrastructure needs

Steel plate protecting our shores

Steel stands tall on the shores of the Chicago River

An excellent example of sustainable steel applications in building construction is 150 North Riverside, a 54-story office building in downtown Chicago. Currently under construction, sustainability is a focus of this new project, which has been LEED-CS Gold Precertified. ArcelorMittal is making important contributions to the building’s sustainability through its incorporation of our Histar® steel, which is produced out of ArcelorMittal Europe-Long Products’ Differdange mill in Luxembourg. This high strength steel is reducing the overall weight of the building’s structural system by 6 percent - a savings that positively contributes to the building’s environmental footprint in ways that range from limiting the need for additional materials to overall energy savings. Added benefits of Histar include the fact that it is composed of 97 percent recycled scrap steel and saves additional energy during fabrication, as Histar, at some strengths, does not require preheating for welding. These great characteristics are achieved through a unique production process developed by ArcelorMittal called the Quenching and Self-Tempering (QST) process.

Histar steel, which conforms to the ASTM A913 standard, is very common in tall and super tall buildings and has been uniquely produced by our facility in Differdange since 1990. In the United States, Histar steel is made available to the commercial construction industry via ArcelorMittal International. ArcelorMittal recognizes that to meet customer needs, we must collaborate with business units outside the U.S., thus with the support of its network of research and development specialists, mill representatives and technical service engineers the virtues of Histar steel are promoted to engineers, fabricators and other members of the design and construction team. When the solution is embraced, the result for end users is a marked savings in building weight, costs and carbon footprint. These kinds of collaborations between customers and ArcelorMittal multi-business units represent our commitment to sustainable infrastructure and customer solutions around the globe.

New construction solutions continue to be a focus of ArcelorMittal’s research and development efforts. For example, in response to customer interests in zero-energy or even positive energy buildings, we continue to conduct research in this market. Areas in development now include models that directly integrate renewable energy sources into buildings through steel products.

Bridging the gap in our infrastructure needs

It is widely known that America’s transportation infrastructure is in need of improvement. Bridges, in particular, are in desperate need of repair since the average age of bridges in the United States is 40-50 years old. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. spends approximately $13 billion every year just to fix bridges.


ArcelorMittal’s U.S. facilities are doing their part to help rebuild some of the largest and most critical bridges in the U.S. and Canada. In addition to the much publicized new NY Bridge (formerly the Tappan Zee Bridge), ArcelorMittal is supplying plate product to rebuild of the Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach, California, and the Champlain Bridge in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


The Gerald Desmond Bridge is a through arch bridge. It carries four lanes of Ocean Boulevard from Interstate 710 in Long Beach, California, west across the Cerritos Channel to Terminal Island. Moffatt and Nichol Engineers designed the bridge and ArcelorMittal predecessor company, Bethlehem Steel, constructed it in 1965. To better meet growing traffic volumes, construction on a new replacement bridge, with a cable-stayed design, began in 2014. With 205-feet of clearance over the water, the new bridge will be high enough to accommodate the newest generation of cargo ships. Three traffic lanes in each direction, plus safety lanes, will better serve the 68,000 vehicles that utilize the bridge each day. ArcelorMittal’s facilities in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and Burns Harbor, Indiana, began supplying material for the bridge project in 2015.


Tom Aceto, account manager, ArcelorMittal plate, stated of the project, “Our facilities are driven to support projects like this. We are replacing a bridge that Bethlehem Steel originally erected. Throughout the years, we are committed to support the nation’s infrastructure. Melted and manufactured in the USA really means something.” The Gerald Desmond Bridge Project is expected to be completed in 2018 at a cost of $1.2 billion


The new, $4.2 billion Champlain Bridge construction project is underway and will replace the existing bridge that opened in 1962. The new bridge will be a stand-alone structure on its own piers, crossing over the St. Lawrence River and connecting the Island of Montreal with the south shore. The two-mile bridge will include a three-corridor design and will also include a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists. It is expected to have a 125-year design life. Champlain is the busiest bridge in Canada, carrying more than 50 million vehicles a year. ArcelorMittal’s Coatesville and Burns Harbor facilities along with its facility in Contrecouer, Quebec, began supplying steel for the project in 2015.


This is a high-profile bridge project in Canada because of the volume it carries and the important link it provides for the city of Montreal. Such large projects, like the Champlain Bridge, require a great deal of coordination and commitment on the part of suppliers, like ArcelorMittal, to get customers their products when they need them. Gary Moffat, account manager, plate products, sales and marketing, ArcelorMittal, stated, “Being able to participate in this project lets the industry know that ArcelorMittal can provide the product, quality level and on-time delivery that is essential to the success of a project of this nature. Infrastructure is a huge part of government spending. Being a major supplier for this type of project shows that ArcelorMittal is recognized as producing a wide range of products.”




Steel plate protecting our shores

The U.S. military is critical to our infrastructure, serving our nation as well as helping others across the world in times of need. The shipbuilding industry has been one of the long-term, main staples of the ArcelorMittal plate business. In 2015, we were proud to support the military by supplying steel to two world class Navy vessels.  The first, the USS Illinois, is a new Virginia class Navy submarine. Commissioned in 2015, the submarine is 377 feet long, weighs 7,835 tons, and is able to operate at more than 25 knots submerged.  At a cost of about $2.7 billion, construction on the Illinois began March 2, 2011, and was commissioned in December 2015.


The submarine is capable of remaining submerged for months, withstanding the harshest of environments (extreme depths/pressures), changes in ocean temperatures and currents around the globe, plus ballistic capabilities for firing missiles above and below sea level while avoiding damage from potential threats. All of this is possible while housing sailors and conducting operations, employing the most advanced radar and most sophisticated computer and navigation capabilities available.


Matt Habenicht, plate sales manager, ArcelorMittal USA, stated, “We have supplied steel plate to virtually every submarine in the Navy’s existing fleet. As the only ‘made and manufactured in the USA’ producer of Navy armor plate, we are currently the sole qualified U.S. supplier of these grades of steel to the Navy, especially on these Virginia class submarines. Our Coatesville and Conshohocken plate mills are uniquely qualified to melt and produce the plates required for these ships. There is a significant amount of expertise required to melt, roll, heat treat, test, inspect and, at times, condition these difficult-to-produce, high-strength grades of plate.”


ArcelorMittal USA’s Navy armor plate was also critical in the recent construction of the USA’s newest guided missile destroyer – the USS Zumwalt. The long-anticipated, 610-foot-long, 15,480 ton destroyer is the largest destroyer ever built for the Navy. The ship’s unconventional design allows it to appear to be a small fishing boat on radar. It also includes a new, all-electric, power design. The ship’s gas-turbine engines power generators, rather than propellers, providing it with electrical energy that could be used to power high-tech weapons never before seen at sea. The propellers are powered from the electricity through electromagnets, conserving energy for other tasks. The vessel cost more than $4 billion to design and build. In 2015, the Zumwalt began sea trials in preparation for joining the Pacific Fleet.


Providing plate to the U.S. military, whether the U.S Army, Coast Guard or, in this case, the Navy, means a great deal to our employees. “ArcelorMittal and legacy companies have a long, rich history of supporting our nation’s defense capabilities,” notes Matt Habenicht. “There is tremendous pride for our employees in this effort. When you know one of your family members or neighbors has a child or relative that may be aboard one of these ships, you pay extra attention to details when manufacturing their products. There is no room for error when these vessels are in a conflict.”