The National Mall in Washington hosts Independence Day celebrations every July 4th. Thousands of Americans watch a fireworks show, listen to concerts and take in the sights. But this year, some of the Mall will be inaccessible to visitors.
◆ Construction on National Mall
If you are one of the 25 million tourists visiting the National Mall this year, you can't help but notice that it's going through changes.
National Park Service information officer Carol Johnson says there are three massive construction projects. "We've never done projects quite this big. I mean, the Lincoln Reflecting Pool is the Big Kahuna [biggest one]," she explained.
The pool has been gutted and totally rebuilt. "Washington D.C. is on a landfill and it had started to sink," said Johnson. "It was leaking about 500,000 gallons [2 million liters] of water a week."
There's a levy project off to the side of the World War II Memorial for storm-water management. "It's sort of been unobtrusive during the construction, so we haven't had too many complaints," stated Johnson.
And then there's this one. It's a construction project that has ripped apart four blocks of the National Mall. And it's just steps away from the Capitol, which is hosting a big Independence Day concert."
"The people who designed it never anticipated the use we get on it now. We have inaugurations, we have demonstrations, we have concerts, and it has compacted the soil to the point that it is actually the consistency of concrete," Johnson said.
◆ Partial fencing, Independence Celebration
And while fences and an extra entrance are being added, part of the Mall will be inaccessible on Independence Day. "The big difference this year is that people won't be able to stand from 3rd-7th [streets]," Johnson added. "But we're confident that there's enough room for everybody."
The construction may be inconvenient, but many say the final product will be worth the wait. "Well, it's a bit little difficult to get around, but otherwise, it looks like they're doing a good job with it. So, hopefully it will look great when they're done and we'll get back one year when they're all finished with it," tourist Paul Brown said.
The Reflecting Pool will be finished in August, and crews will complete the other two projects by the end of the year .