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First Steel Columns for the Freedom Tower Raised

First Steel Columns for the Freedom Tower Raised

Dec 19, 2006
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Governor George E. Pataki today joined Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Port Authority officials, and other dignitaries to witness the placement of the first steel columns for the Freedom Tower as construction on the tower continues. The columns were produced in Luxembourg and fabricated in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Freedom Tower was designed by David Childs and is one of the signature elements of the Libeskind Master Plan, all of which are currently under construction on the World Trade Center site.

Governor George E. Pataki said, “The soaring tower that begins its 1,776-foot ascension today will for generations to come, stand as tangible proof of the transcendent power of freedom. The Freedom Tower will be an unmistakable symbol that this great nation will never surrender or succumb to the forces of tyranny and oppression. It will be an international icon– an inspiring reminder that freedom is not the product of America’s strength, it is the source of it– we are not free because we are strong, we are strong because we are free. Today, America’s strength is evident in these columns of steel — the footings for the great monument to freedom that is rising on this hallowed site.”

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, “With work on the Freedom Tower and the Memorial now well underway, it is with a renewed sense of optimism that we are here today watching this first steel column put into place. This steel symbolizes the resiliency of our great City and demonstrates to the world that New York is moving forward and that nothing will diminish our spirit.”

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “The agreement forged in April paved the way for the tremendous progress we have seen in recent months. It gave the Port Authority, with its long and proud history of building generational projects, the enormous responsibility of building the major components of the World Trade Center site — the Freedom Tower, the Memorial and the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. We are honored to take on that responsibility and confident the progress will continue.”

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “The installation of this steel is further evidence of the recovery underway in Lower Manhattan. The financial strength of the downtown area has never been better, and will continue to grow as the World Trade Center site is built out over the next five years.”

Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. said, “These pieces of steel that were installed today will be a visible sign to those who live, work or visit the World Trade Center site that we are making major progress in the rebuilding effort. In addition to erecting steel, we are digging foundations, pouring concrete and building a new basement on the site that will ultimately support a major transportation facility, a world-class memorial, the world’s tallest building, and three additional office towers.”

Six additional columns will be installed by the end of this year. An additional tier of columns will be raised on top of the initial columns by mid-January bringing the columns heights to over 65 feet tall and nearly to grade. The first lift of all 27 jumbo columns that form the perimeter will be installed in the spring as the tower’s core is built. This shipment of steel is the first of what ultimately will be 45,000 tons of steel that will be used to build the Freedom Tower.

World Trade Center Developer Larry Silverstein said, “Everyone in the Silverstein organization is enormously proud of our role in advancing the design, engineering and initial construction of the Freedom Tower. While the transfer of ownership of the Freedom Tower to the Port Authority is now complete, we have every confidence that five years from now, this building will be the crown jewel of a magnificently revitalized Lower Manhattan skyline.”

Tishman Construction Corporation Chairman Daniel R. Tishman said, “The erection of these steel columns is the result of thousands of hours of planning and hard work by hundreds of dedicated steel mill workers, architects, engineers, and construction workers. As construction manager for Freedom Tower, it is an honor and a privilege to be part of this great team leading New York’s historic rebuilding effort and to follow in the footsteps of my father, John, who led the construction efforts of the Twin Towers for the Port Authority.”

David M. Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, the architects of the Freedom Tower, said, “For over three years, we have been steadily working to design a bold and iconic building which will represent both the loss sustained on 9/11 and the resiliency and spirit of the people of the United States. With this steel column, we take a giant step toward the realization of this goal.”

World Trade Center Site Master Planner Daniel Libeskind said, “Today marks a truly momentous occasion in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site. For years we have been working together to design a soaring and symbolic building that will restore the iconic skyline of Lower Manhattan. With the raising of this steel on the site, we will fully realize the resurgence of this great city and bear witness to the creation of a skyscraper that reassures the pre-eminence of freedom and liberty.”

The Freedom Tower, World Trade Center Memorial and the Transportation Hub are all under construction. Excavation work on the Freedom Tower is nearly complete and concrete pours are over half way through. Blasting and excavation on the Memorial and Memorial Museum is underway. On the Transportation Hub, concrete foundation work is well underway along with a majority of the casings for the minipile underpinnings. Water mains have been installed and utilities have been relocated, and work on the west bathtub and north/south shear wall is ongoing. The slurry wall construction for the east bathtub is also in progress.

The 1,776-foot-tall Freedom Tower will include 2.6 million square feet of office space, tenant amenity spaces, an observation deck, restaurants, and broadcast and antennae facilities. Below-grade retail and access to the PATH rapid-transit system and the World Financial Center will also be provided. The Freedom Tower will be complete in 2011.

In July of this year approximately 805 tons of steel were produced in Differdange, Luxembourg to create the first 27 “extra-large” steel columns for the Freedom Tower. Arcelor, one of the world’s largest steel companies, produced the massive steel columns. The columns weigh 730 pounds per foot and range in length from 30 to 56 feet for shipping.

In August, the steel columns were shipped by vessel from Antwerp, Belgium. Four different ships made the trans-Atlantic voyage to deliver the columns to two port cities, Portsmouth, Virginia and Camden, New Jersey where they were then transported to the fabricator, Banker Steel Company, L.L.C. of Lynchburg, Virginia. There, the steel was fabricated into “built-up” columns by welding plates to their sides, forming columns that weigh up to 2,440 pounds per foot. From start to finish, the steel has traveled approximately 4,700 miles.

The installation of the giant steel columns capped off a year in which major progress was made to redevelop the World Trade Center site. The key milestone to accelerating construction on the site occurred in April, when the Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved a framework proposal with World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein that realigned roles and responsibilities at the site. Under the agreement, Silverstein Properties will continue to build Towers 2, 3 and 4. Silverstein Properties surrendered its lease rights for the Freedom Tower and Tower 5 to the Port Authority. Construction on the entire site is expected to be completed by as early as 2012, including Towers 1 through 4, the retail, the Calatrava Transportation Hub and the Memorial. The agreement ensures the completion of the Freedom Tower and expedites the rebuilding of the entire WTC site, in particular the Church Street corridor, which will return ground level retail to Lower Manhattan restoring street life and economic vitality to the area.

In July, the Port Authority agreed to assume responsibility for construction of the World Trade Center Memorial. The agency’s Board finalized that agreement at its December 14 meeting. Construction of the memorial’s footings and foundation began in August.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.

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