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Surprise as security fears force NY tower redesign

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NEW YORK'S Freedom Tower is to be redesigned 17 months after the final structure was confirmed in a bid to combat security concerns of New York City Police.

Governor George Pataki announced last week that the tower will be redesigned by architect Skidmore, Owing & Merrill by the end of June. It will replace the World Trade Center towers destroyed in the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.

It is understood police are concerned that the structure is too close to West Street on its western boundary. They fear this makes it vulnerable to vehicle borne attacks.

To allay these concerns, the structure must be moved back from the road, changing the layout of the base and the tower structure.

The current design consists of a diagonal structural grid ncircling a concrete core. The grid will twist around the core up to 70 storeys where a system of steel cables will form and upport an open area. An offset 84m tall spire will take the building up to 541m.

Leading structural engineers expressed surprise that the move came at such as late stage in the project.

'It is extremely unusual to get this far with a project and then to have to change it because some security issues haven't been addressed, ' said one.

'In the main criteria for the newbuild security would have been at the top of the list. It has taken a long time to flush this out, ' said another.

Pataki has appointed his advisor John Cahill to act as the key negotiator with the police, developer Larry Silverstein and financiers.

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