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NEW YORK CITY-The Port Authority has substantially completed the excavation of the basement area for Towers 3 and 4 at the World Trade Center site. In a prepared statement, it noted that it would complete the entirety of the excavation of Tower 4 by mid-January, and Tower 3 two to four weeks later.

In keeping with this timetable, Silverstein Properties will advance procurement and other preconstruction activities in preparation for full-scale construction. The construction of the towers, including below- and above-grade retail and subterranean transit concourses, is expected to be completed in 2011.

The 12-month excavation and construction project–which involved the removal of nearly 300,000 tons, will be completed within weeks of its original schedule established in an agreement with Silverstein Properties in mid-2006. As a whole, the project is more than 90% complete. The excavation for the “bathtub” for Towers 3 and 4 must be dug to elevation 240. To date, 80% of the site for Tower 4 has reached elevation 240, and the remaining portion ranges from between elevations 241 and 248. The site for Tower 3 has been excavated to as low as elevation 264.

Under a master redevelopment agreement approved by the Port Authority Board of Commissioners in September 2006, the bistate agency agreed to take over development of 1 World Trade Center, the Freedom Tower and the Tower 5 site. Silverstein Properties is responsible for construction of Towers 2, 3 and 4.

The Port Authority’s agreement with Silverstein Properties calls for it to make payments of approximately $300,000 per day if any section of the excavation is not completed by Jan. 1. The Port Authority expects these costs will be largely offset by reduced payments to its contractors, and Silverstein Properties will reinvest these payments in the ongoing $16 billion of construction throughout the site.

“We appreciate how much the Port Authority has accomplished this year,” notes Janno Lieber, director of World Trade Center Development for the Silverstein organization in a prepared statement. “A few extra weeks to complete everything is a minor bump in the road in the context of this entire project.”

In a prepared statement, a spokesperson for Silverstein Properties says that “the Port Authority and its construction professionals have made great progress in excavating and constructing the bathtub along the eastern side of the World Trade Center site. It is a challenging assignment that must be done thoroughly and completely. We appreciate their efforts and are confident they will be able to deliver sites for construction of Towers 3 and 4 in the very near future. Our team of architects, engineers and builders has been preparing for more than a year, and we will advance procurement and other preconstruction activities, so we can hit the ground running as soon as the site preparation work is completed.”

The Port Authority is on schedule to complete the below-ground excavation for the Tower 2 site by the end of June. Currently, nearly every section of the 16-acre World Trade Center site is under construction. There are currently more than 700 construction workers and 100 pieces of heavy equipment on the site.

Major construction on 1 World Trade Center, the Freedom Tower, began in mid-2006. The tower’s footings and foundations are nearly complete, and steel will begin to rise above street level during the first part of this year. Construction of the foundations for the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and Memorial also are under way. Major steel beams for both projects are scheduled to be erected during the upcoming year.

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