Freedom Tower's Steel Beams Rise - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/20/06-NEW YORK

Freedom Tower's Steel Beams Rise

The first of two 25-ton steel beams rises Tuesday for the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower in Manhattan. The first of two 25-ton steel beams rises Tuesday for the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower in Manhattan.
Construction workers sign their names to a steel column as it is set in place at ground zero. Construction workers sign their names to a steel column as it is set in place at ground zero.
New York Gov. George Pataki, left, glances at Freedom Tower architect David Childs, right, as the first steel columns for the Freedom Tower are lowered by crane into position at ground zero in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2006. New York Gov. George Pataki, left, glances at Freedom Tower architect David Childs, right, as the first steel columns for the Freedom Tower are lowered by crane into position at ground zero in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2006.
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Two 25-ton steel columns -- one bearing signatures of American steelworkers who helped make it -- rose at ground zero Tuesday, a milestone in the prolonged effort to build the skyscraper that will replace the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

As construction workers, politicians and architects applauded, a massive crane lifted the first 31-foot-high column, which was painted with an American flag and the words "Freedom Tower," and set it over steel bars on the southern edge of the tower's base.

A second column set a few feet away carried the signatures of steelworkers and politicians from Virginia, where it spent time at a steel company before being shipped to New York.

A third column lay on its side, plastered with signatures of New Yorkers and September 11 victims' relatives as well as pictures of some firefighters killed in the 2001 attack. It will be installed in the next few days.

By next spring, 27 of the jumbo steel columns to anchor the skyscraper are expected to rise to street level -- about 70 feet from the bottom of the World Trade Center site.

"Today the steel rises, the Freedom Tower rises from the ashes of September 11, and the people of New York and the people of America can be proud," New York Gov. George Pataki said.

The 1,776-foot tower, set to open in 2011, will be the tallest of the five skyscrapers planned to replace the trade center.

"Rising from the heart of the World Trade Center site, the Freedom Tower will symbolize the spirit of our city and our nation: inspiring, soaring and undefeated," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Lengthy negotiations over who would build the tower and security concerns have delayed the project.

The tower has had more than one design and groundbreaking. Politicians laid a granite cornerstone in July 2004 to begin construction, but had to move the building after city police said it was too close to traffic, making it vulnerable to terrorism.

Construction began again this spring, after the site's owner renegotiated its lease with a private developer and took over construction.

Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer, who takes office next month, said he planned to look again at designs for the tower. Federal and state agencies, including the governor's office, agreed to occupy half of the building's office space.

The columns installed Tuesday -- among the largest in the world -- were forged in Luxembourg, then shipped to Lynchburg, Virginia, where workers welded steel plates onto them so they could be properly set in place.

The tower will be built with 45,000 tons of steel, builders say.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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