Date:  Aug 29, 2011

Press Release Number:  108


DESPITE HURRICANE IRENE, WORLD TRADE CENTER PROGRESS CONTINUES; 9/11 MEMORIAL REMAINS ON TRACK FOR SEPTEMBER 11 OPENING

Port Authority’s Airports, Tunnels, Bridges and PATH System All Back in Service

Despite the rain, wind and storm surge of Hurricane Irene, the World Trade Center site weathered this weekend’s historic storm with minimal damage, and the 9/11 Memorial – where not one of the 225 trees were damaged despite 60+ mph winds – remains on track for its opening on September 11.

Work will resume today to put the finishing touches on the Memorial in preparation for its opening, and on One World Trade Center and the other commercial office buildings, the WTC Transportation Hub, the Vehicle Security Center and related projects.

Port Authority staff remained on site throughout the duration of the storm, checking for any problems and shoring up flood-prone areas with sand bags and concrete barriers. As a result of the major preparations in advance of Irene and the quality and strength of the site’s construction, not one of the newly planted white swamp oak trees on the Memorial Plaza or the “Survivor Tree” was damaged, the signature reflecting pools remained unharmed, and none of the hundreds of panes of glass in One World Trade Center and in the Memorial Visitor’s Center was broken. Only limited flooding occurred in the basement level of One World Trade Center, and that water has since been pumped out with no significant damaged caused.

Today, Port Authority engineers are on site to inspect all of the site’s cranes for any possible damage before they are put back into service.

Port Authority Executive Chris Ward said, “After all we have been through, there was no way we were going to let a hurricane get in the way of opening this Memorial on 9/11. We remain fully on track for the opening and progress continues on every inch of the World Trade Center site. Thanks to all of the preparation and dedication by Port Authority staff, Memorial, state and local officials, today we will get back to work and get this site humming again.”

Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni said, “This site survived the storm because of the dedication and hard work of so many Port Authority employees. They stayed on site for the duration of the storm and did whatever was needed to minimize any damage, including hours spent in the driving rain sandbagging and checking for wind damage. We made a sacred commitment to get the memorial open, and no amount of rain or wind is going to stop us.”

9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels said, “The Memorial has weathered tropical storm Irene, and it remains as strong as the hundreds of men and women dedicated to building it. And true to its name, the Survivor Tree is standing tall at the Memorial. I would like to recognize the efforts of the Port Authority and Memorial staff who worked together to help ensure this national site of honor and remembrance will open in September on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and for generations to come.”

Before the storm hit over the weekend, Port Authority staff prepared by notifying contractors to secure their construction sites and to take precautionary measures including securing cranes; tying down material and loose debris; covering electrical equipment; storing loose tools; and securing netting, scaffolding and sidewalk sheds.

Engineers also implemented plans in advance of the storm to secure cranes against the hurricane, while crews also are prepared pumps, sandbags and other measures to stem flooding at the site.

All of the Port Authority’s transportation facilities resumed service today.

CONTACT:

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Steve Coleman, 212 435-7777

The Port Authority’s tunnels and bridges – the George Washington, Goethals and Bayonne bridges and Outerbridge Crossing and the Lincoln and Holland tunnels – were fully reopened by Sunday afternoon. The PATH system resumed regular service at 4 a.m. today. LaGuardia Airport reopened to arriving and departing flights at 7 a.m. John F. Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International airports reopened for arriving flights at 6 a.m. and for departing flights at noon today.