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WTC steel column installed at ground zero

Ongoing construction will limit where, how people can visit

. — Photo: AP

RISING FROM THE RUBBLE:One of the memorial pools under construction at ground zero in New York on Tuesday

NEW YORK: Officials hoisted a 70-foot (21 meter) piece of World Trade Center steel at ground zero on Tuesday and vowed to open the September 11 memorial by next year, although they acknowledged that the ongoing construction at the site would limit where and how the public could visit.

The memorial, with waterfall-filled pools set above the footprints of the fallen towers, its wall of victims' names, its trees and green spaces, is expected to open by the 10th anniversary of the 2001 attacks.

Open to public

Officials said it would be open to the public after that. But they will be able to enter the memorial only from the western edge of ground zero, while fenced boundaries that surround the site on three other sides of the eight-acre plaza will still be there, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Tuesday.

Millions to visit

Once the official memorial is open, officials estimate, 7.1 million people will visit it in the first year. Mr. Bloomberg said a northeast section of the plaza would be closed at some point while a transit hub is being built underneath it, and other parts of the plaza could close as needs warrant.

Thirty-six storeys of World Trade Center, formerly known as the Freedom Tower, are rising from the northwest corner of the site. It is scheduled to open in 2013, along with a second office tower.

The column put in place on Tuesday was part of that. The 70-foot structure, with its three-pronged trident top, was salvaged from the rubble. — AP

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