Bulldozers move onto World Trade Center site to begin building the £3.5bn Freedom Tower.

Work began on the £3.5bn project to rebuild Ground Zero in New York yesterday.

Bulldozers moved into the giant pit on the site to begin building a the 540-metre tall Freedom Tower that will replace the World Trade Centre, destroyed by the 11 September 2001 attacks.

The site will include three other high rises plus a residential tower that will surround a memorial, museum and cultural centre dedicated to what relatives of the September 11 victims consider a sacred site.

Construction is expected to complete by 2011 or 2012.

Work began a day after developer Larry Silverstein and the land owner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, resolved long-running acrimonious disputes over money, security and design.

Silverstein said: "What is so spectacular is the opportunity to come together as we have in the last few days for the purpose of rebuilding the World Trade Centre. It's of great significance to me and to all New Yorkers."

New York governor George Pataki said: "We are not going to just build low in the face of a war against terror. We are going to soar to new heights and reclaim New York's skyline."

Pataki symbolically laid the first stone on July 4, 2004, just ahead of that year's Republican National Convention in New York.