River Avenue in Harrison to be straightened for new metals mill
A portion of River Avenue in Harrison needs to be moved to accommodate ATI Allegheny Ludlum's mammoth new $1.1 billion hot strip mill.
Last week, the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County voted to seek contract bids for moving about a tenth of a mile of the road toward the Allegheny River.
Dan Greenfield, ATI spokesman, said moving the section between Mile Lock Lane and Sycamore Street will make the road safer and allow more room for the mill, which is located at the company's Brackenridge Works in Harrison.
“When it goes around some of the new construction, the road jogs to the left a little bit,” he said. “They're going to straighten that out.”
Dennis Davin, executive director of the redevelopment authority, said the county has been doing all it can to make sure things go smoothly for ATI.
“We've worked really closely with Allegheny Technologies from the beginning to build the mill there,” he said. “One of the things we said we'd provide is help to move the roads around there.
“This is the last phase needed to be done to complete the development.”
Davin said River Avenue is a county road. The redevelopment authority will be working in conjunction with the county's public works department throughout the project.
Davin said he expects to have construction bids in by mid-September. Until then, Davin couldn't estimate the project cost.
This won't be the first time a road had to be moved to accommodate the new plant.
Mile Lock Lane, which forms the border between Harrison and Brackenridge, had to be moved 26 feet toward Tarentum at a cost of $1.7 million.
Greenfield said installing the one-of-a-kind specialty metals mill at its location was a daunting task, even with the road relocations.
“It's a big building; to fit it in that spot was quite an engineering feat,” Greenfield said. “We wanted to maintain the facility in Brackenridge. In order to do it, they had to move Mile Lock Lane and River Road.”
The Ludlum mill will sit on just 97 acres. That's small: A similar mill recently built in Alabama by competitor ThyssenKrupp is on 1,200 acres.
Greenfield said the new, straighter road will be easier for drivers and pedestrians to navigate.
“It's better for everybody,” he said.
The new hot-strip mill, officially dubbed the L. Patrick Hassey Hot Rolling Processing Facility, will produce any type of metal a company could need, and at record speeds, according to Greenfield.
According to the ATI website, the mill is to be ready for service by the end of this year. Greenfield said that more information may be released this week.
R.A. Monti is a freelance writer.