D.C.

Washington Monument scaffolding to come down starting Nov. 11

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - It's almost over for the scaffolding on the Washington Monument.

The scaffolds that have encased the monument since the spring will start to come down starting Nov. 11, National Park Service officials say.

And on Thursday night on the National Mall, the “Glow in the Dark" kickball players are taking sides, as those lights on the Washington Monument they have gotten used to are about to take their last lap.

"It saddens me... I enjoyed the fact that I could see it at night in the distance..." said D.C. resident Thomas Hailu.

"Driving into the city, it kind of stands out more than usual," added Mike Rooney. "I kind of wish they would keep it up."

Sunday night will be the end of the road for the decorative lighting, which has been up since early July. The Monument has been undergoing a $15 million rehab process, repairing the cracks and damage from the August 2011 earthquake.

It will take about three months to completely take down the 500 tons of construction work, which was put up starting this past March during the effort to repair the Washington Monument after the 2011 earthquake. Already, workers have finished 80-percent of the exterior work, with about 150 cracks having been epaired so far.

"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," Bob Vogel, the Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, said in a statement.

"I was surprised how quickly that happened," said D.C. resident Stephanie Eldred. "All my teammates and I thought it would be for at least a year."

To prepare for the work, the monument will stop lighting up at night on Nov. 3. The National Park Service expects to reopen the historic icon to the public in the spring of 2014.

Scaffolding will not completely leave the National Mall, though. The dome of the United States Capitol will soon go under construction to repair significant damage as well.

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