London's Iconic Big Ben Going Silent for $42 Million Makeover

It has been 40 years since the bells stopped ringing for this long.

— -- Big Ben, the U.K.’s most famous clock, will fall silent for several months in preparation for the start of much-needed repair work.

The three-year job will cost about $42 million and is scheduled to begin in early-2017. The clock is in such need of repair that it’s at risk of not functioning without the work, the British parliament says in a Q&A about the project on its website.

The Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben, will also be refurbished during the period.

The last time Big Ben’s bells stopped ringing for several months was 40 years ago. The bells were also stopped in 2007, but only for six weeks. Starting next year, the clock will be stopped at different times within the three-year repair period. The bells will still chime for important events.

“This historic clock is loved by so many people,” Steve Jaggs, keeper of the clock, said in a statement. “It is both an honor and a great responsibility to keep it in good working order for public enjoyment. Every day our team of highly skilled clock mechanics cares for this Victorian masterpiece but, in order to keep the Clock ticking, we must now take the time to thoroughly inspect and restore it.”