By Uriah Kiser Potomac Local News
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Steel beams from the ill-fated World Trade Center made the return trip to the Prince William County Government Center on Monday.Two years after a special ceremony was held at the government enter in Woodbridge heralding the arrival of the beams, the steel was placed on the Sean T. Connaughton Plaza where they will be preserved with an epoxy sealant for use in a permanent memorial on the nearby grounds.
The work to restore the beams will be done in public view, marking the first time they have gone uncovered since arriving in Prince William from a junkyard in New Jersey in 2011.
“We are going to preserve these steel beams, not restore them, so they’re not going to be pretty, but neither was September 11th,” said Prince William Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan.
Caddigan went with Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, and former Supervisor John Stirrup to New Jersey two years ago where they met with a political connection of Stirrup’s, and were able to to negotiate a deal to bring the steel back to Virginia.
Earlier this year, Caddigan called for the steel, which was being stored at a county facility in Nokesville, to be taken out of storage, preserved, and then erected for a permanent memorial on a grassy area at the government center, nearby a memorial erected in 2006 for the local victims of the September 11th, 2001 tragedies in New York City, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania.
“The memorial will have two beams standing upright with another leaning into into it, forming a triangle,” said Neabsco District Supervisor John Jenkins.
A fourth beam will lay on the ground beside the three erect beams once the memorial is in place.
The memorial design was born from a blueprint submitted during a public call for entries made in 2011, when elected leaders asked the public what the memorial should look like. The project was delayed because many of the elaborate designs topped the $2 million mark, and that was not a price officials were willing to pay to build the new monument.
Officials say the new memorial will be in place in time for a ceremony this year’s September 11th rememberance ceremonies, which will mark the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
Concrete remains attached to the beams, and part of the preservation process will be to remove the concrete and to prevent water from further rusting the steel.
At the same time the beams were being taken off a truck and placed onto the plaza, a public works crew was taking test bores of the ground soil to better understand what type of concrete to use when the steel is erected.
“Ever heard of the Leaning Tower of Pisa? That’s what we’re going to have here if we don’t do the soil tests and get it right,” said Jenkins.