WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Park Service says crews will begin removing the scaffolding surrounding the Washington Monument starting in less than two weeks.

It will take about three months for the scaffolding to be removed completely.

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The scaffolding was erected to allow crews to repair the monument, which was damaged in an earthquake in August 2011. It has been closed to the public ever since, and the park service hopes it will reopen in the spring.

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The park service says exterior work on the monument is about 80 percent complete. Stonework has been patched up in more than 150 places, and cracks have been filled at the top of the 555-foot obelisk. Repairs are expected to cost $15 million.

The scaffolding will begin coming down the week of Nov. 11.

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