Steelmaking delays stall road projects in Chemung County

ELMIRA, NY (WETM) – Supply chain delays have plagued every industry, from construction to retail stores since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. After multiple delays, Chemung County hopes to receive steel materials to complete several road projects next year, including the Lowman Crossover Bridge.

Residents have been driving around the bridge since April 2021. The road was originally scheduled to reopen in August; however, steel delays caused the project to stall as workers waited for the new beams to arrive. After ordering the product in February 2021, Chemung County Public Works Director Andy Avery said the delay was not caused by a shortage of raw materials, but in part by a potentially caused manufacturing slowdown. by a labor shortage.

“The biggest issue is making the raw material into beams and girders that we can use in our bridge projects,” Avery said.

CNBC reported that steel demand plummeted at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but as construction picked up, it quickly picked up. Steel prices jumped 300% above their pre-pandemic levels to over $1,900 a ton. Before the pandemic, prices averaged between $500 and $800 per ton.

Not only were construction projects restricted, but the manufacturing of devices and vehicles was also delayed.

Going forward, Avery expects steel supply chain issues to decrease, allowing for the timely completion of highway projects. In 2022, Chemung County will begin smaller construction on Pennsylvania Avenue; however, this project will not require new steel beams, just steel repair.

The Horseheads Connector Road will also feature a steel bridge, but as it is a two-year project, Avery hopes the construction team can place steel orders early enough that it will not be delayed. . Finally, the Lattabrook Road Bridge over I-86 will begin construction in 2024, but Avery doesn’t expect to face severe shortages as seen in 2021.

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