The One World Trade Center, sometimes called freedom tower, replaced the twin towers that were destroyed during 9/11. Its 1776 feet tall and its the most expensive office tower in the world, costing 4 billion dollars. But it sits only a few yards from the same site that had been hit by terrorists twice before.
One has to wonder…would it happen again?
When the plans for freedom tower were announced, the NYPD deputy commissioner for counter terrorism objected to the buildings location. The Port Authority never responded, saying they never received a letter from the NYPD. They believed that another attempted attack on the world trade center within the next 10 years was inevitable, and pretty much a certainty. But Governor Pataki went ahead with the plans, vowing to built a tower that would inspire the nation and serve as a tribute to freedom. The world trade center has been attacked twice before, once in 1993 by a truck bomb, and then of course, on 9/11.
According to CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen, it seems a target in perpetuity, somebody will try something, even if it’s some half-hearted attempt by somebody merely inspired by al Qaeda. He also said he would never work at freedom tower. In fact, many terrorism experts agree that sooner or later, ground zero will be targeted again. So now that you know that another attack on ground zero is inevitable, what will happen once it does?
Will it be a catastrophic disaster like the one on 9/11?
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told 60 minutes that if necessary, the NYPD could blow an airplane out of the sky, adding that the New York police department has lots of capabilities that you don’t know about, and you won’t know about.
The world trade center has its own precinct, staffed by 6 hundred police officers, all experts in counterterrorism. The Port Authority police department is in charge of security at the freedom tower. So in short, there’s a lot of people protecting the world trade center. So if an attacker somehow makes it past the NYPD, here’s the deal.
To protect it from another car bomb attack, the freedom tower is located 90 feet from the edge of the street, instead of the previous 25. Its also protected by a 70 ton steep beam base 200 feet by 200 feet, designed to protect the building from vehicular bomb blasts. Every vehicle that enters the underground parking is screened for explosives. Visitors pass through metal detectors, all packages and bags are screened much like in an airport. Stair access is restricted, and visitor time is limited, monitored, and recorded. There are cameras pretty much everywhere and they are monitored 24/7 by both real people and software that is designed to recognize suspicious people, activity and unattended baggage.
Freedom Tower is designed to be an extremely strong structure. It has a concrete wall, one meter thick, located within the steel frame. The concrete core is the strongest ever mixed. The original towers, were made entirely of steel. When the plane crashed into the north tower, the jet fuel superheated the steel support columns, softening it to the point that it buckled under its own weight. Freedom Tower also has multiple layers of beams and columns bolted together, which will prevent bending. Therefore, its likely that theone world trade center could survive an attack like the one on 9/11. One of the major problems that occurred on 9/11 was not enough room in the stairwell for people to evacuate. The new stairwells are 50 percent wider than required, allowing more people as well as wheelchairs. If there is ever another attack that prompts an evacuation, the staircases interconnect to allow people trying to escape to cross over should a stairwell become blocked. They are internally pressurized, which keeps smoke out, and they also feature low level emergency lighting, which were somehow not integrated in the original towers. There are also stairwells dedicated to first responders, that are designed so that they can only travel up as fast as possible and not have to maneuver around people who are trying to rush down the stairs and escape. If there is a fire in freedom tower, it has water tanks with double the capacity required by New York building code, and if there’s a biological attack, freedom tower also has chemical filters in the air supply system. There is a first responder only, fireproof elevator, giving fire crews access to all 112 floors more quickly.
In conclusion, the one world trade center was designed in response to the problems that cost 3000 people their lives on 9/11. Of course, if there is another attack , new problems will arise. Its impossible to completely secure a building against an attack, especially a plane. But as it stands, freedom tower is one tough cookie to crack.