In many ways, the Washington Monument is Washington, DC. When people see it, they know they're in the nation's capital.
Now, though, not many people will see it at all.
The Washington Monument, all 555 feet of it, is going dark. Temporarily.
A $15 million repair project — necessitated by the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the East Coast on Aug. 23, 2011 — is nearing completion. So, the scaffolding that has encompassed the monument and the decorative lights place on it to make it look not-so-awful, are coming down.
The lights went on July 8 and the 500 tons of scaffolding shortly before that so that workers could repair cracks in the facade. They'll go off on Monday, and the scaffolding will begin coming down Nov. 12.
High up on the Washington Monument, where time and the weather have sculpted the marble slabs, workers have fixed most of the damage done by the earthquake two years ago.
The external repairs are 80 percent finished, and the monument is on track to reopen by spring, the National Park Service told The Washington Post.
Although the exterior work is almost finished, work on the interior is only about 30 percent complete, Park Service spokeswoman Carol Bradley Johnson told the paper. And the grounds around the monument have to be re-landscaped.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” she said.
The scaffolding, which started to go up in February and reached the peak in May, will take about three months to remove.