WASHINGTON (AP) — Workers have started building scaffolding around the 555-foot-tall Washington Monument to make repairs to the damaged stonework following a 2011 earthquake.

The workers were building the scaffolding Thursday. It’s slowly rising from the base of the monument.

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The National Park Service awarded a $9.6 million contract in September 2012 to begin repairing the monument. It will involve scaffolding around the entire monument to George Washington, sealing cracks, repairing the mortar and strengthening weak spots.

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The marble and granite obelisk has been closed to the public since a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the region on Aug. 23, 2011. The upper portion of the monument sustained large cracks. The total cost of the repairs is $15 million.

Officials have said it will take four to five months to build the scaffolding.

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