Cost-cutters slashed the price of New York's September 11 memorial in half to US$500 million while preserving crucial design elements like waterfalls and reflecting pools where the Twin Towers once stood, officials said on Tuesday.
The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation unveiled the redesign a month after builder Frank Sciame was hired to bring costs down to US$500 million. The price tag had climbed to nearly US$1 billion, drawing howls of protest from politicians.
Bickering over financing, security and design had already delayed the rebuilding of the World Trade Centre site, including the 540-metre Freedom Tower, which will replace the Twin Towers in the Manhattan skyline.
The new projected memorial cost is US$510 million $10 million more than Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg wanted.
But the redesign allows builders to meet the construction deadline of September 11, 2009, and preserves most of Michael Arad's original design.
Arad envisioned twin pools marking the base of the Twin Towers with waterfalls cascading around all four sides of each pool, feeding underground pools with a continuous stream.
Visitors would descend below ground and look up at the waterfalls, with the names of all 2,979 killed displayed around the pools.
The savings come from a combination of eliminating some design elements, scaling back infrastructure, passing off costs to other government agencies, and efficiencies like having the landowner the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey assume responsibility for construction.
Costs were further reduced by moving the names of the victims to ground level. The redesign removes some underground galleries but preserves the subterranean view of the waterfalls.
The public has a week to comment on the redesign, after which various public agencies will consider it for adoption.
Source: China Daily