Washington: The U.S. National Park Service plans to reopen the Statue of Liberty to tourists on July 4, the U.S. independence day, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters on Tuesday.
The statue in New York Harbor has been closed since Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York on Oct. 29. While the statue itself was unharmed, the storm damaged docks, grounds and security systems at the tourist attraction.
The statue itself was spared in the late October storm, but its surrounding island was badly damaged. Railings broke, paving stones were torn up and buildings were flooded. The storm also destroyed boilers, sewage pumps and electrical systems on the island.
As much as three-fourths of Liberty Island’s 12 acres was flooded, officials estimated, with water reaching as high as 8 feet.
An exact opening date wasn’t set. Before the statue can reopen, a security screening process for visitors must be worked out with the New York Police Department. Salazar said an announcement was expected in the next week or so.
About 3.7 million people visited the statue in 2011, making it the 19th most visited national park.