Pentagon emerges from rubble

August 11, 2010

Reconstruction and a resumption of renovation efforts will follow cleanup of the Sept. 11 crash of a jetliner into the Pentagon. More than 180 people died when terrorists smashed the airliner into the building's west side.

The design/build contract to rebuild the Pentagon's two damaged wedges, 1 and 2, has been awarded to a team headed by Greeley, Colo.-based Hensel Phelps Construction Co., and including Shalom Baranes Associates of Washington, D.C.; HDR Inc. of Omaha, Neb.; M.C. Dean Inc. of Chantilly, Va.; Studio Architecture of San Francisco; and Southland Industries of Irvine, Calif. The contract also continues ongoing renovation activities in the Pentagon. New York City-based AMEC, which was completing the renovation of Wedge 1 at the time of the attack, will undertake associated tasks, such as rebuilding floor slabs, rebuilding columns, replicating the historical limestone façade and rebuilding the roof in the damaged area.

"With the award of this contract we can begin immediate repairs to the Pentagon and make the necessary improvements that will keep it operational for the next 50 years," said Lee Evey, Pentagon renovation program manager, in a Sept. 15 press briefing.

While the initial contract is $145 million, the total reconstruction and renovation of the building's five wedges has potential value of up to $758 million over the estimated 11-year renovation effort. The total project encompasses more than 4 million square feet. Design work was to begin at the end of September.

The jetliner hit the Pentagon low and diagonally, first striking the renovated section of Wedge 1 before passing into an unrenovated area of Wedge 2, which was being prepared for renovation.

The plane penetrated the building's outside E ring, as well as inner rings D and C before stopping in an open-air service passageway separating the C and B rings.

All 64 people on the airliner were killed and 125 people in the Pentagon are either missing or confirmed dead. While personnel from both AMEC and Hensel Phelps were on site at the time of the attack, none were injured. "I was closer than I wanted to be," said one Hensel Phelps employee on the day following the tragedy, who added that his position in the innermost A ring of Wedge 2 allowed him to escape.

Evey credited upgrades in designs for blast protection made during the renovation of Wedge 1 for saving military and civilian lives during the tragedy by helping keep more of the building intact.

Floor-to-floor and interconnected vertical steel beams, sturdier windows and armored panels in the revamped exterior wall are credited for slowing the plane and mitigating effects of the explosion as the jet slammed into the building.

         
 

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