Survivors' Staircase moved to temporary location

Crews move staircase that survived 9-11 attack and was cherished as trade center escape route
March 9, 2008 4:16:45 PM PDT
Six and a half years after the world changing events of 9/11 and Sunday one vital piece of the World Trade Center was moved to a new, temporary location. Eyewitness News reporter Marcus Solis has more on the Survivors' Staircase.

Tom Canavan was able to watch without getting emotional, but make no mistake. That staircase means the world to him. Thirty-seven steps saved his life.

"That's very important to me," said WTC survivor, Tom Canavan. "Without that staircase, I don't know how would get out the plaza alive."

The steps connected the World Trade Center Plaza to Vesey Street. The structure has been dubbed the "survivors stairway" as it was a means of escape for thousands of people on September 11th.

It withstood the towers collapse, and since 9/11 has stood in its original spot. But with construction now moving along in earnest, the decision was made to move it.

This morning a 500-ton crane hoisted the 22-foot structure onto a flatbed truck. The last remaining artifact of the original site was moved 200 feet.

The original plan called for only a small portion of the stairwell to be preserved. This represents a comprise, one that wasn't easy to achieve.

"There are those who are focused on the building only and there are those who are focused on memory only," said Avi Schick at Lower Manhattan Development corp. "And what we showed is that these two can be reconciled to move forward together."

The stairway will remain at Ground Zero during construction and will play a role in the September 11th memorial positioned between another staircase and an escalator so visitors can get a close look.

"It's going to be a symbol and tell the story of the survival of how people escaped that day and how the city survived 9/11," said Joe Daniels from September 11 Memorial and Museum.

A fitting solution says Tom Canavan.

"To me it's just a rock, but it means something," said Canavan.

As it will for millions of visitors in the future.