Officials at a Mahwah company say helping build a 408-foot spire would’ve been an accomplishment no matter where it was located. But on the eve of the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, HYTORC executives say playing a role in the construction of New York City’s Freedom Tower is one of the proudest moments in the company’s 45-year history.
Thanks to the 408-foot spire added to it in May, the Freedom Tower, which stands where the Twin Towers once did, is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
The World Trade Center building, which houses offices, restaurants, broadcast towers, and a museum, stands at 1,776 feet tall.
Hytorc, an international industrial bolting company headquartered on Route 17 in Mahwah, began working on the tower in 2007.
“Our machines basically did two things for this project,” Jason Junkers, HYTORC’s Director of Marketing, told Patch.
“One bolted a floor-by-floor crane-jumping system that was needed during the construction of the tower itself. And another machine [bolted] the spire and communication rings around it.”
Since HYTORC was chosen as one of the hundreds of companies involved with different aspects of the building’s construction, its engineers and sales managers worked to develop the right machinery for the job.
Working as a vendor for construction engineers at DCM Erectors, Inc., which spearheaded the construction, HYTORC provided both standard and customized bolting systems for the project.
The tools, a mix of hydraulic-powered bolters and pneumatic, or air-powered, bolters, were not only customized to do the job, but also to commemorate its significance.
“When we first found out we were selected for this job, we knew we wanted the tools to signify what we were doing,” Junkers said. “We used two main tools. One was painted red, white, and blue with stars and stripes. The other was laser-engraved with an image of the [NYC] skyline, and a quote from [former NYC Mayor] Rudy Giuliani saying, ‘we will rebuild.’ That’s really what these machines and this whole tower symbolize, rebuilding.”
The tools were put to work on the project—they bolted about 4,000 nuts and screws on the rings and spire at the Freedom Tower.
“We usually have people working on all different projects, and teams don't really get involved in each others’ projects,” Junkers said of HYTORC’s 75 Mahwah-location employees and hundreds of others around the world.
“This project was different. Everyone is connected to this, especially everyone in this area. When we unveiled [the tools], all of our employees came in to see them, everyone wanted to know what was happening with this project. It really brought the company together.”
And the bolts the machines secured on the tower brought the Freedom Tower construction together. The 700-ton spire is made up of 14 different parts. The pieces were hoisted to the top of the tower by crane to be assembled. The final piece of the spire was installed an unveiled in May of this year.
Junkers said he visited the site several times with HYTORC sales rep Reid Hensen, who headed HYTORC’s role in the Freedom Tower construction.
“It was just an incredible experience, being there,” Junkers said. “Being inside that building is unreal. For all of us, especially Reid, this was more than a project. You’re just emotionally attached to it.”
The company has worked on other high-profile bolting jobs, including bolting the cap that covered the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, bolting NASA booster rockets, and bolts on some other projects in NYC, like bridge rehabilitations and subway construction.
But, employees say this project hold special significance, especially this week.
For Junkers, whose father founded HYTORC in 1968, “we are just so proud to be a part of this, to know that our machines bolted the top 408 feet of this tower is incredible.”
When reflecting on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Junkers said theFreedom Tower serves as both a tribute to the lives lost in the attacks, and as a symbol of America rebuilding.
“We are unbelievably proud and honored to be a part of that.”