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WTC survivor staircase moves again at ground zero

The staircase that served as an escape route for

people fleeing the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 is now in a

museum.

The museum to commemorate the 2001 terrorist attacks hasn’t been

built yet, but the 57-ton survivors’ staircase was moved by crane

Thursday across ground zero to its future entrance.

The staircase stood for years as the last remaining above-ground

remnant of the original trade center complex.

Preservationists — and survivors who used it to get quickly from

the outdoor trade center complex to the street below on Sept. 11 —

hoped it would stay in the same place, but it stood in the

footprint of one of five planned office towers.

In 2006, state officials announced they would demolish all but

one or two slabs of the staircase to make way for the new tower,

undeterred by a group that named the steps one of the nation’s most

endangered historic places. The staircase weighed 175 tons at the

time, too heavy to drive across bridges into storage; officials

couldn’t find space for it in a nearby park.

But planners changed their mind a year later, finding a spot for

the 37 stairs at the entrance pavilion to the below-ground memorial

museum.

The stairs were moved for the first time in March — after

construction crews chipped away at the concrete foundation and

replaced it with metal supports — and again in July from one end of

the site to the other.

On Thursday, a crane moved the staircase about 150 feet north

from the trade center footprint to the street-level entrance.

Visitors won’t be able to use the stairs but will see them as they

descend a parallel stairway from street level into the museum.

The memorial and museum are both expected to be open in 2012.

 

(The Associated Press0

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