70 tractor-trailers deliver monster crane to disaster site

Seventy tractor-trailers have transported a monster crane to New York City that will be in use Monday or Tuesday at the ground-zero site where the World Trade Centers once stood.

About 80 percent of the site has some debris in it, which all must be removed. Currently, the biggest problem is that cranes can only work from the perimeter, which severely limits how much weight they can lift.

The monster crane normally can lift 1,000 tons, but because it will have to reach in, it will only be able to carry 25 to 30 tons. "That's about what we need," said Peter Marchetto, president of Bovis Lend Lease.

The arduous and hazardous job of excavating the site likely will take eight to 12 months. New York City has budgeted up to $250 million for each of four contractors, according to a city official. All four firms have a sector of the 16-acre site that is seven stories deep.

Around 500 contractors now are working per shift at the site -- in addition to firefighters, police officers, and medical personnel.

Declining to be named, the city official said the only time frame for the removal and demolition work was "...for as long as it takes." This means the total price tag could hit $1 billion, but because President George W. Bush declared the site a national disaster area, the city expects to be significantly reimbursed for its costs.

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