World Trade Center site dramatically transformed since 9/11

LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) -- The World Trade Center site has changed dramatically since that tragic day 17 years ago but on the eve of 9/11 there are many new improvements.

"We are really moving the full completion of the site forward as fast as we can," says Rick Cotton, Port Authority Executive Director.

Much of that continuous work on the World Trade Center site is dedicated to those who lost their lives and helped in recovery.

"We really believe the best tribute we can perform for them is to bring back the World Trade Center site and campus with more energy and vibrancy than ever before," says Cotton.

Even on a chilly, rainy day tourists and those who live and work there flood through the vast 16 acre site. They are finding the cobblestone Cortlandt Way opening up allowing for easier access. Other new streets are opening too.

"I'm glad it's back. The World Trade Center is a very beautiful place," says Dee Dee Davis, who works just a block away.

Some of that beauty is captured in large murals. There are mapping features too for improved way finding.

"We invited local artists to dress up what are vents and construction areas which are waiting the building of Tower 2. So they become part of the community. They in themselves become an attraction," says the Executive Director.

Tower 3 opened in June, opening up even more of the area and bringing 45,000 employees to the site.

"It's way easier for pedestrians now. Everything was more blocked off. You had to go around for blocks to get from one side to the other," said Richard Zeni, who works in the area.

Vaugh Edwards, another area worker adds, "There is more to do. Especially with the underground network that they have now with all the shops and everything."

And now Towers 2 and 5 are being planned, Rick Cotton points out. "It demonstrates our commitment as New York and as a nation to come back stronger than before," he said.

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