Flight 93 visitor center contract awarded

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The National Park Service announced Friday that it awarded the construction contract for the Flight 93 National Memorial visitor center to URS Group Inc. of North Carolina.

The project is being constructed with the help of $40 million in private funds raised through the service's charitable arm, the National Park Foundation. Fundraising was completed earlier this month.

Construction will include the visitor center, pedestrian bridge, site improvements and infrastructure work. The Park Service said URS intends to subcontract about 60 percent of the work to Western Pennsylvania companies.

The memorial -- near Shanksville, 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh -- honors the 40 passengers and crew of United Flight 93. Their struggle with hijackers of their airplane on Sept. 11, 2001, is credited with preventing a second attack on Washington, D.C.

The $40 million in private money was raised from more than 110,000 people, foundations and corporations. It has been used to build the new park's Memorial Plaza, Wall of Names, 40 Memorial Groves and the Field of Honor, where Flight 93 went down. It also paid for reforestation of the landscape, which had been a strip mine.

Ground-breaking for the visitor center was Sept. 10.

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