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Washington Beat: Ongoing Construction On DC Landmarks Frustrate Some Tourists

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Some ongoing construction projects in Washington, D.C. are blurring those picture-perfect moments for tourists. Washington bureau reporter Geoff Bennett filed the following report for NY1.

WASHINGTON D.C. -- When tourists visit the nation's capital, they expect to see America's most revered landmarks and monuments as is, not encased in metal cages.

The $15 million repair effort at the Washington Monument, damaged in a 2011 earthquake, has become a source of praise and fury from visitors hoping to get a peek inside the 125-year-old landmark.

Until recently, decorative lights on the scaffolding surrounding the monument lit up the skyline at night. Still, some say this attractive addition didn't make up for canceled tours.

"I was really, really disappointed just 'cause we drove like 13 hours to get here and trying to look at all the monuments and things and take nice pictures with us on our honeymoon and there's scaffolding on the monument, so it's kind of like, you know," said Matthew Taylor from Jacksonville, Florida.

The project is coming to a close, and 6,000 scaffolding pieces are already coming down.
However, as crews work to reveal one popular landmark, tourists will find another eyesore or beauty, depending on how you look at it, at the U.S. Capitol Dome.

The architect of the Capitol says that crews will repair one thousand cracks in the cast-iron dome as part of a two-year restoration project, at a cost of $60 million. Visitors will still be able to visit the rotunda inside the Capitol Dome to see Apotheosis up above, as long as they are willing to view it through a white scrim.

Back at the Washington Monument, Carol Johnson, a spokesperson with the National Park Service, says that crews are working hard to accommodate tourists who want to get inside.

"Visitors are disappointed that they can't get in. Some people plan years in advance to come to Washington, D.C., and we know that they like to really get into the Washington Monument. We're working as quickly as possible, and we'll be open in the spring," Johnson said.

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