If you’re visiting London beginning in January 2017 and you want to know what time it is, you’re going to have to look at your iPhone, or your Apple Watch… or any other modern convenience. Because the world’s most famous clock — Big Ben — is preparing to go silent.
Yes, British officials have announced that Big Ben's bells will go silent for several months as teams prepare to get started on important repair work. And without the improvements and upgrades, experts say the clock is at risk of failing altogether.
The entire project, which will also restore Elizabeth Tower that houses the clock, is expected to take about three years. The equivalent price tag in U.S. dollars for the upgrades is expected to fall in the $42 million range.
It’s been 40 years since the last time Big Ben’s bells fell silent for this long. The bells also stopped chiming briefly less than a decade ago.
“The tower is not unstable," said the clock’s keeper Steve Jaggs. "But unless we do something now it's going to get a lot worse. We need to do the work pretty soon to keep this for future generations to enjoy."
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