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American Bridge to close Coraopolis, Oregon plants, cutting 128 jobs

| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 3:33 p.m.

American Bridge Co. of Coraopolis, whose sales have fallen in the past two years, is closing both of its fabricating plants in the United States and will lay off its 128 employees next month.

The 113-year-old company's American Bridge Manufacturing Co., which built the Chrysler Building in New York and the San Francisco Bay Bridge among its famous projects, expects layoffs to begin about Dec. 9 and continue for several weeks at plants in Coraopolis and in ReedsĀ­port, Oregon.

CEO Mike Flowers, who was promoted from chief operating officer in 2010 when Robert Luffy retired, could not be reached for comment on the company's status and its plans for its headquarters here, and its other district engineering and project management offices in Tampa, New York, Richmond, Chicago, Kansas City and elsewhere.

Luffy, who became CEO during a troubled time in American Bridge's history and rebuilt the company during his 17 years as chief executive, could not be reached for comment.

Luffy engineered a resurgence, starting with one contract and 25 employees. During his tenure, the company constructed numerous internationally recognized bridge projects, including the reconstruction of the Williamsburg Bridge in New York, the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver and the 25th of April Bridge in Lisbon, Portugal.

In the past two years, the privately owned company that was once a part of U.S. Steel Corp. had its annual revenue drop by about 30 percent. After hitting a high point of nearly $600 million in 2010, revenue fell to $414.4 million in 2012, company documents show. Its net worth was $166.36 million in 2012.

The company was founded in 1900 when financier J.P. Morgan engineered a merger of 28 bridge and structural companies. The company was sold in 1987 to private ownership by U.S. Steel, which owned it since its founding. U.S. Steel closed American Bridge's huge factory in Ambridge in 1984, robbing the town of its namesake. The owner since 1989 is the Ing Family Trust of Taiwan and several employees.

American Bridge filed a plant closing notice on Tuesday with Pennsylvania saying that 77 workers in Coraopolis will be laid off and a similar notice in Oregon saying 51 workers will lose their jobs. No employees are represented by a union, the notices said. The Coraopolis plant opened in 1999. The Oregon plant was built in 2002, according to media reports.

Trib Total Media staff writer Tory Parrish contributed to this report. John D. Oravecz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7882 or joravecz@tribweb.com.

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