Experts: Expect More World Trade Center Steel To Be Found Underground

Friday, February 16th 2007, 6:19 pm
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ An expert who investigated the collapse of the World Trade Center say there is likely much more steel from the buildings buried underground than the pieces recently found at ground zero.

The discovery of steel _ and more than 300 bones within a service road at the 16-acre site _ has sparked criticism of the thoroughness of initial cleanup efforts after the 2001 terrorist attack. Officials involved in the cleanup have said they left the site too soon in the spring of 2002, and that many steel columns that pierced the ground when they fell from the twin towers remain.

Those involved in the cleanup have said more steel, and possibly human remains, are still in and around ground zero, including along a street where tourists frequently walk to view the site and a memorial to the 1993 trade center bombing.

``I will be surprised if they don't find more,'' said Gene Corley, a structural engineer who investigated the collapse of the twin towers and who co-authored a 2002 study on the collapse.

At the time of the cleanup, ``the process was to get the debris out of the way that was interfering with securing the site and recovering the site,'' Corley said. ``Anything that was buried beneath a road or in the soil was not necessarily a problem for the near future.''

City officials who oversaw the cleanup have not commented on why trade center steel and debris such as computer parts and carpeting is still at the site.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was never officially informed that any steel was left underground before taking over the site in mid-2002, spokesman Steve Coleman said.

The agency keeps more than 1,000 pieces of steel from the trade center at an airport hangar; a ``last column'' from the trade center was ceremoniously removed in May 2002.