WTC Cleanup Finished Early

After eight straight months, workers at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan finally accomplished what they thought would never be done: They finished cleaning up the estimated 1.8 million tons of debris from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and sent it in nearly 100,000 truckloads (up to 18,000 tons of debris per day) to the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island, N.Y., to be examined for evidence and remains.

Workers finished three months ahead of what city officials originally estimated, and the project cost about $750 million — approximately one-tenth of the initial $7 billion projected estimate — to clean up remains of the two 110-story buildings and surrounding area.

During the first of three ceremonies commemorating the end of the cleanup, the 30-foot-tall steel column that remained from the south tower was removed at 10:29 a.m. on May 30, the exact time of day that the second tower collapsed.

A memorial at the 16-acre site currently is being considered, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg hopes to begin construction by July.