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Sep 20, 4:41 PM EDT

Park Service awards Flight 93 Memorial contract



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PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The National Park Service said Friday that it has awarded a roughly $20 million construction contract for the Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center to a North Carolina company.

The Park Service said that URS Group Inc., of Morrisville, N.C., won the contract to build the 6,800-square-foot visitor center and do other site improvements, including a pedestrian bridge, water and sewer work and parking.

The visitor center, expected to open in late 2015, is designed so that the building will be broken in two at the point of the plane's flight path overhead. The ridge it will be on gives people a clear view of the crash site, which is near a memorial wall that lists the 33 passengers and seven crew members who were killed when the plane crashed into a field on Sept. 11, 2001, after passengers fought back against hijackers.

Flight 93 Memorial superintendent Jeff Reinbold said that URS plans to subcontract with western Pennsylvania firms for much of the work. Reinbold said the Park Service is grateful for all the donations from people and businesses and for the support from the state.

"We are pleased that approximately 60 percent of the total construction contract will be completed" by western Pennsylvania companies, Reinbold said.

United Airlines Flight 93 was traveling from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco when it was diverted with the likely goal of crashing it into the White House or Capitol.

The Flight 93 National Memorial is located in Shanksville, about 75 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The memorial drew about 320,000 visitors last year.

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