The decorative lights illuminating the Washington Monument are set to be turned off next week as crews begin the process of removing the scaffolding around the earthquake-damaged structure.
National Park Service officials said Thursday that the last night to see the monument brightly lit will be Sunday, after which the lights will be turned off in preparation for the removal of the scaffolding, which is scheduled for the week of Nov. 11.
Park Service officials said it could take about three months to remove the scaffolding. The monument itself is scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2014.
“I know the decorative scrim and lighting are popular and will be missed, but we are excited that this brings us one step closer to reopening,” said Bob Vogel, superintendent of the Mall and memorial parks.
Crews began erecting the scaffolding around the monument in late spring, and the decorate lighting and scrim was applied in July.
The scaffolding was required so that repair crews could access the exterior of the 555-foot monument, which was damaged during the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the region in August 2011.
Park Service officials said about 80 percent of the exterior work — which includes filling and patching cracks — has been completed. About 30 percent of the interior repairs have been completed, and that work is set to continue as the scaffolding is removed.
“There’s still considerable work to be done, but we’re really grateful to our contractors for keeping this project on schedule,” Mr. Vogel said in a statement. “They know how important this work is and the symbolism of the Monument and have treated it with the respect and care it deserves and moved things along as quickly as possible.
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