New York officials released the latest design for the signature building at the World Trade Center site Wednesday after revising it to make the tower more secure.

Gov. George Pataki ordered the design changes because police were concerned that the tower’s placement adjacent to West Street, a major thoroughfare along the west side of Manhattan, would make it vulnerable to a truck bomb.

Instead of being 25 feet from West Street, the tower will be set back 90 feet, and its 200-foot base will be covered in steel and titanium intended to make it blast-resistant.

“This new design reflects a soaring tribute to freedom and a bedrock commitment to safety and security,” Pataki said.

The building, which has been dubbed “The Freedom Tower” by Pataki, will remain 1,776 feet, symbolizing the year the United States declared its independence.

It would be almost 100 feet taller than the Taipei 101 Tower in Taiwan, currently the tallest building in the world.

It also will retain a spire, containing a 400-foot broadcast antenna which will emit light at night and is intended to echo the Statue of Liberty’s torch.

The tower will be more slender and occupy a smaller footprint in the northwest corner of the 16 acres where the 110-story twin towers once stood, and it won’t be completed until 2010, two years later than the original plan.

By Phil Hirschkorn

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