World Trade Center Memorial Completion Pushed Back 2 Years to 2011

The opening of the memorial to victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has been pushed back by two years until 2011, the agency building it said Tuesday.

The "Reflecting Absence" memorial will surround two waterfall-filled pools marking the World Trade Center tower footprints with a plaza of sweetgum and oak trees. Officials had said for years that it would open on Sept. 11, 2009, and that a museum set below street level was expected to open a year later.

Steve Plate, who oversees the rebuilding of the trade center site for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, outlined the latest construction schedule at a committee meeting Tuesday. By 2009, the steel for the memorial pools would be built up to street level, he said.

By 2010, the cobblestone-filled plaza surrounding the memorial pools would be "nearly complete," he said. The entire memorial, museum and pavilion would be finished by 2011, Plate said.

Port Authority spokeswoman Candace McAdams said the schedule was revised to reflect a more realistic schedule that became clear after construction began.

"We see the reality, and want to operate on responsible timelines," McAdams said Tuesday. "We'll work as aggressively as possible to complete the project as soon as possible."

Construction of the memorial began in spring of 2006, and briefly stopped while architect Michael Arad's design was altered to cut costs that were approaching $1 billion. The redesign — which cut over $200 million in costs — made the museum a bit smaller and moved stone parapets listing the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks to street level.