Erie firm builds concrete plant for Shell cracker
March 19--An Erie manufacturer will play a key role in construction of the $6 billion ethane cracker plant to be built near Pittsburgh.
Erie Strayer is building a $1.3 million concrete plant for the contractor building the petrochemical plant. Equipment will be shipped from Erie next week, assembled on site and ready to produce and pour concrete as early as this spring, said Tim Alfieri, Erie Strayer's manager of contract administration and engineering.
The completed plant will stand seven stories high.
The Erie Strayer equipment will be trucked to the cracker plant construction site.
"We use local haulers as a rule, so there is some spinoff work for other local companies," Alfieri said.
Erie Strayer, located on Rudolph Avenue on the city's west side, built most of the concrete plants in this region, including Baycrete Redi-Mix and Erie Sand Gravel plants. It has also built concrete plants for construction at the Denver airport, at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, for buildings and memorials at the Freedom Towers in New York, for the Hoover Dam bypass bridge and a plant operating on a barge to produce concrete for replacement of the 3.1-mile, eight-lane Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River near New York.
The company also built two concrete plants for construction of the new Apple corporate headquarters near San Jose, California.
"We sell for projects all over the country and all over the world, in Saudi Arabia, London, Africa, Buenos Aires" and throughout Canada, said Kyle Strayer, sales manager and great-grandson of company founder G.H. Strayer. Kyle Strayer's father, Robert Strayer, owns and is chief executive of the company.
Erie Strayer was founded as Erie Steel Construction Co. in 1912, fabricating and erecting steel buildings for Hammermill Paper Co., Mercyhurst College and other commercial, industrial and public buildings in the region. The company retooled its efforts during World War II to produce overhead traveling cranes and clamshell and dragline buckets for the American military. It also built radar towers nationwide. By war's end, the company was building concrete batching equipment, clamshell digging buckets and storage bins for the construction industry.
The company soon after the war began phasing out steel fabrication. Erie Strayer, now with just under 100 employees, builds some of the largest central mix and mobile concrete plants in the world.
The ethane cracker plant will be built by Shell along the Ohio River in Beaver County to process liquid natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shales into polyethylene, the building block of the plastics industry. Major construction is expected to begin later this year. The plant is expected to be operational within five years.
"We're very proud to have the opportunity to provide equipment for this important project," Robert Strayer said.
Valerie Myers can be reached at 878-1913 or by email. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNmyers.