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The Wall That Held

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On this day, let's honor one little-recognized construction strategy that worked. In the bowels of the old World Trade Center, there rested a slurry wall. Built around its foundation was a barrier of water and clay, and concrete and steel, and the thing didn't budge on that terrible day 12 years ago, preventing groundwater and some of the Hudson from pouring into the PATH station and the subways and sparking a Sandy-level underground flood that would have endangered even more lives. The wall's erection was overseen by Italian engineer Arturo Lamberto Ressi di Cervia, who died last month, and should perhaps be counted as one of the unsung heroes of 9/11. [NYT; WTC construction photo from 1968 via MCNY]