United States secretary of the interior, Ken Salazar, has confirmed the Statue of Liberty will close for a year to undergo refurbishments.
The $27.25 million renovation – which includes long-planned safety and other critical facility renovations – will begin in late October.
“Two years ago, when we reopened Lady Liberty’s crown to visitors for the first time since the September 11th attacks, I promised that we would continue to upgrade the interior to make it safer and more accessible for all,” Salazar explained.
“With today’s announcement, we are taking a major step in bringing a 19th Century icon into the 21st Century.”
The National Park Service awarded the work to Joseph Natoli Construction Corporation of Pine Brook, NJ, to install code compliant stairways within the monument, update mechanical, electrical and fire suppression systems, replace the elevators, and rehabilitate restrooms.
The improvements will also allow for increased visitor access to the monument, including the pedestal and the museum.
The National Park Service will keep the monument open to the public through the October 28th celebration of the 125th anniversary of the statue’s dedication.
It will be closed the following day as work commences; however, Liberty Island will remain open during the project and views of Lady Liberty will remain largely unobstructed during the year-long upgrade to the statue’s interior.
Secretary Salazar re-opened the crown of the Statue of Liberty to visitors on July 4th, 2009 after it was closed following the 9/11 attached for safety and security reasons.
For safety considerations, the National Park Service has to limit the number of visitors to the crown to groups of no more than ten visitors at a time.
With approximately three groups ascending the crown per hour, an average of 240 visitors climb to the crown each day.