downtownexpress.com
Volume 19 | Issue 25 | November 3 - 9, 2006

progress report/ port authority & w.t.c. developer

We're rebuilding all over the W.T.C. site

By KENNETH J. RINGLER JR.

This year has been one of incredible progress, and equally significant changes, that we believe will greatly enhance the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site.

When the year began, the Port Authority was already engaged in construction of the World Trade Center transportation hub, a magnificent facility that will integrate the PATH train service with a dozen New York City subway lines and private ferries. After building a temporary World Trade Center PATH terminal in record time in 2002 and 2003, the start of this project signaled the return of hardhats and construction activity to the site.

As the year progressed, the Port Authority took on the awesome responsibility of building the Freedom Tower and the memorial, the site's other major projects. As a public agency and the owners of this 16-acre site, it is our obligation to facilitate the rebuilding of this site as quickly and cost efficiently as possible.

Today, dozens of construction workers are laboring on the site, building foundations for the Freedom Tower and the memorial, and pouring concrete for the World Trade Center transportation hub. In December, the first steel beams will be delivered to the site, and soon thereafter, these steel beams will begin to be erected to form the Freedom Tower's basement.

As we move into 2007, the public can be assured that the Port Authority will work aggressively to complete these various projects on time and on budget. Our recent agreement with developer Larry Silverstein outlines specific timelines when work must be done and imposes harsh penalties if the deadlines are not met. As an agency that has built some of the most recognizable transportation infrastructure in the world, I am confident that we will meet these timelines.

During the upcoming year, extensive work will begin on one of the most critical projects, the creation of an east bathtub that will serve as a basement for Towers 2, 3 and 4 and the transportation hub. Work on the bathtub will begin near Church and Liberty Sts. and proceed north toward Vesey St. The initial bathtub work will be completed by the end of next year, allowing construction of Towers 3 and 4 to begin. The entire bathtub will be completed by the middle of 2008.

Once the former Deutsche Bank building on Liberty St. is dismantled, work will begin next year on the vehicle security center, a facility that will screen cars, delivery trucks and tour buses before they enter the underground levels of the trade center site. The project will initially provide parking for 28 tour buses bringing visitors to the World Trade Center memorial.

Construction of the foundations for the memorial also will continue in preparation for the steel base of the structure to be built beginning later next year.

At the World Trade Center transportation hub, construction will continue in the area of the fourth platform that will allow for future growth in PATH ridership and will allow work on the station to be staged during construction to allow PATH to operate round-the-clock service uninterrupted.

While great progress was made this year to rebuild the World Trade Center site, we expect a far greater level of activity in 2007, with hundreds of construction workers actively engaged in the rebuilding of the site.

Kenneth J. Ringler, Jr. is the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

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