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Steel skeleton completed at 4 World Trade Center

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Construction workers at 4 World Trade Center in New York hoisted and placed the final beam for the building’s steel skeleton on Monday, keeping the structure on track to be the first to open at the site since the September 11 attacks brought down the twin towers.

The final steel beam of the 977-foot (298-metre) skyscraper, weighing eight tons (7.25 tons) and adorned with an American flag, was signed by a group including construction workers and developers. It was then lifted by crane and placed atop the 72-story building in a “topping out” ceremony attended by about 1,000 people.

Four World Trade Center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013. Construction began in 2008.

“The topping out of 4 World Trade Center represents another milestone in the effort to create a new, dynamic World Trade Center at the heart of a resurgent Downtown,” said Larry Silverstein, the developer of the World Trade Center.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials said workers at the site’s flagship structure, 1 World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower, should complete steel construction soon and that building is scheduled to open in late 2013 or early 2014. Upon its completion, the Freedom Tower will become the tallest building in New York City at 1,776 feet.

New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said Four World Trade Center was “perfectly symbolic of New York’s ‘can do, never surrender’ spirit.”

Reporting By Joseph O’Leary; Editing by Vicki Allen