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$4 Billion Transit Center Opening at World Trade Center Site

FILE - Spanish-born architect Santiago Calatrava poses for a portrait during a media tour of the World Trade Center transportation hub in New York.

New York City reaches another milestone in the effort to rebuild after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks with Thursday's opening of a $4 billion transportation hub.

Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava designed the facility with its striking white steel ribs and glass rising out of the ground next to where the Twin Towers once stood.

It combines retail shops with a massive commuter rail station that includes links to 11 subway lines.

The hub is long overdue and over budget, with Calatrava's plans first announced in 2004 and an estimated completion in 2009 at a price of $2 billion. The final cost is roughly equal to the price tag of One World Trade Center, the 540-meter twisting tower that now anchors the site.

The construction process was slowed by the challenges of working on a site surrounded by other projects, including One World Trade Center, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and three other towers that people will be able to access from the hub.

There was also the added challenge of building around the No. 1. train subway line that now runs through the site and remained in service throughout construction.

People will only gain access to part of the site with Thursday's opening. The rest is expected to become fully operational in a few months, and the retail portion is due to open later this year with more than 60 stores and restaurants.

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