Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Steel column installed for WTC tower

AP Story Times Union

Finally.....how many years did it take Pataki to get a shovel in the ground here?? You better believe Spitzer will take a hard look at all the "details" ........it is a real shame this project has become a political football the last few years...with everybody pointing fingers for the delays...and Pataki showing absolutely no leadership at all....letting things slide along......another legacy for Eliot to deal with.........andy

NEW YORK -- The first 25-ton steel column for the new Freedom Tower was installed Tuesday at ground zero, another milestone in prolonged efforts to build a new office tower to replace the World Trade Center.

The 31-foot high white steel column, painted with an American flag and the words "Freedom Tower," was picked up by a crane and set into place on the southern edge of the planned 1,776-foot building. Politicians and workers at the site cheered as the column was installed shortly after 11:30 a.m.
"Today the steel rises, the Freedom Tower rises from the ashes of Sept. 11, and the people of New York and the people of American can be proud," said Gov. George Pataki. A second column, about a foot taller and covered with signatures from steelworkers and politicians in Virginia, was installed a short time later.
Officials hoped to raise a third column later Tuesday.
In the next two weeks, more columns will be set around the perimeter, including two covered with signatures of Sept. 11 families, steelworkers, architects and politicians. Officials said the signature-free column that was installed Tuesday was a slightly different length than the others and was long ago scheduled to be installed first.
By next spring, builders say the jumbo steel columns will rise to street level -- about 70 feet from the bottom of ground zero.
The 27 columns -- among the largest made in the world -- were forged in Luxembourg, then shipped to Lynchburg, Va., to be fabricated so they could be installed at the foundation. The entire tower will eventually be built with 45,000 tons of steel, builders say.
Virginia residents and steelworkers signed one of the columns earlier this month and Sept. 11 victims' relatives and first responders wrote messages on another on Sunday.
The tower has been redesigned several times; politicians lay a granite cornerstone in July 2004 to begin construction, but later had to move the building after city police said it would be vulnerable to terrorism in its location, too close to traffic. It was redesigned, the cornerstone moved off the site and construction began again this spring.
Gov.-elect Eliot Spitzer and the incoming head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is building the tower, recently said they planned to look again at the tower's designs. Spitzer has also questioned the tower's economic viability, although he has committed to moving the governor's office there when it opens in 2011. State and federal agencies have already agreed to occupy half of the building's office space.

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