Last updated: 12:00 PM ET, Thu April 28 2016

Big Ben to Go Silent as British Officials Begin Repairs in 2017

Destination & Tourism | Donald Wood | April 28, 2016

Big Ben to Go Silent as British Officials Begin Repairs in 2017

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

On Tuesday, British officials announced that the bells inside Big Ben would go silent while workers complete much-needed upgrades to the clock tower.

According to The Associated Press, the renovation project will begin in January 2017 and last three years. According to Parliament's Keeper of the Great Clock, Steve Jaggs, the upgrades and repairs will cost around $42 million.

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Jaggs announced that the work on Big Ben will include repairs to the structure’s roof, including stopping water seepage that has damaged the stonework of the building. The 160-year-old clock tower is not unstable, but officials believe the repairs can’t wait any longer.

Big Ben’s clock has run almost uninterrupted since 1859, but it will be stopped for several months as workers repair the springs, pendulum and hands from all four clock faces, as well as replace the 28 light bulbs behind each clock.

As for the 15.1-ton Big Ben bell, it will stop sounding off to mark each hour while officials clean and check it for cracks. Jaggs did say the bell will still be rung at midnight on New Year's Eve throughout the renovations.

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The upgrades and repairs being made to Big Ben are also part of a much larger project to improve the entire Parliament complex. Estimated at $11 billion, the British government is currently weighing options on how to fix the rest of the buildings surrounding Big Ben.

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