Just over a year after the iconic Parisian cathedral was engulfed in flames, restoration efforts have resumed on the Notre-Dame after work was stopped in mid-March because of the coronavirus lockdown.

On Monday morning workers began removing metal scaffolding surrounding the Cathedral that was already in place prior to the fire for renovation work on the spire, dismantling over 40,000 pieces one-by-one, over 200 tons of twisted, tangled, and melted metal from the fire.

Christophe-Charles Rousselot of the Notre-Dame Foundation called it “the last check-up before open-heart surgery.” Before they could even begin, they had to spend months stabilizing the scaffolding with metal girders.

“It is an extremely complicated, very delicate operation that has been prepared for months. The rope workers will swing from tube to tube to cut up the scaffolding.”

The removal process is expected to take upwards of three months, after which the actual restoration can begin. With the scaffolding removed, engineers will be able to structurally analyze the damaged roof vaults and chart a course for the future.

The Cathedral is expected to remain closed to the public for the coming years as the restoration efforts go on. French Army General Jean-Louis Georgelin, appointed special representative to oversee the restoration efforts, said while the coronavirus pandemic “has unquestionably delayed the work, there’s no reason to believe it cannot be met – we’ll have to find a way to catch up” in order to meet the target reopening date of April 2024.

Click to read more and watch video of two exclusive looks at the undergoing restoration.

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