- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 29, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) Cleaning up the estimated 1.2 million tons of rubble left by the destruction of the World Trade Center could take up to a year and cost $7 billion, officials said yesterday.

The unprecedented work will require the demolition of other damaged buildings and the removal of pieces of the World Trade Center that were hammered into the ground by the force of the falling twin 110-story towers on Sept. 11, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton estimated that cleanup costs are running $100 million a week. Senate aides put the eventual cleanup cost at $7 billion.

Overall, city and federal officials are looking at a total recovery price tag of roughly $39 billion, which includes about $8.2 billion for rebuilding the World Trade Center, aides said. But they cautioned that the numbers change frequently; no decision has been made on whether to rebuild.

Just 130,000 tons of debris has been removed so far.

“The amount of time they need to remove and clear the site will range anywhere from nine months to one year,” Mr. Giuliani said before leaving to attend memorial services for four victims.

As debris is removed from ground zero, some scrap metal may have been diverted to mob-controlled businesses rather than the Staten Island dump where investigators are examining the rubble for clues and DNA, police said. A grand jury is investigating.

As workers continued to whittle away at the staggering piles of debris in lower Manhattan, a city consultant to the cleanup effort said officials are on the verge of announcing “this is not a rescue operation anymore.”

Once the rescue workers pull back, heavy-duty excavation equipment will be brought in, said Mark Loizeaux of Controlled Demolition Inc.

The remaining workers will be trained to spot human remains and remove them “with the maximum possible dignity,” he said.

The mayor has already warned that the bodies of some of the 5,960 missing victims may never be found. As of yesterday, 306 bodies had been recovered.

Today, at least 16 funerals or memorial services were scheduled around the metropolitan area.

The traffic jams of earlier in the week were eased yesterday by restrictions on single-occupant cars headed into Manhattan. Cars with solo drivers were barred from entering Manhattan via any bridges and tunnels below 62nd Street from 6 a.m. to noon.

“It seems to me that it worked, and it worked well,” Mr. Giuliani said, saying mass transit ridership appeared higher.

At the Lincoln Tunnel, it was a typical morning rush backups of about an hour at the Hudson River crossing. About eight drivers an hour were turned away for riding alone yesterday, the first day of restrictions at the tunnel, said Kos Skruodys, general manager of the Lincoln Tunnel.

At the East River crossings the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and the Queensboro, Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges there was 98 percent compliance with the carpool order, said Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall.

Traffic for the evening rush hour was helped when the Holland Tunnel closed since the attack was reopened to outbound traffic yesterday afternoon.

The city is expediting the issuing of death certificates for the missing. The city has already handled 565 applications from family members, with some of the certificates issued already, the mayor said.

With a Democratic runoff in the mayoral race just 10 days away, Mr. Giuliani deflected questions about his future as mayor. He has asked the three mayoral candidates to consider a plan that would extend his stay at City Hall to oversee the city's recovery.

Democrat Mark Green and Republican Michael Bloomberg support a plan to keep Mr. Giuliani for three months after the Dec. 31 end of his second term. Democrat Fernando Ferrer is against the idea.

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