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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ostankino Tower Will Be World's Tallest

Moscow's landmark Ostankino television tower, seriously damaged by an August fire, will be extended during restoration work to again become the world's tallest freestanding structure, according to a government plan reported Thursday.

The State Construction Committee has approved a restoration plan calling for extending the 540-meter tower by another 22 meters to install additional broadcasting equipment, the Kommersant daily reported.

The extension would again make the needle-shaped tower the tallest freestanding structure in the world - a title it held from its construction in 1967 until 1975, when it was surpassed by the 553-meter CN tower in Toronto.

However, the reconstruction would cost 1.7 billion rubles (more than $60 million), and next year's budget does not envisage such spending, the report said.

The plan also includes a new service elevator and repairs to damaged steel cables.

The fire that broke out Aug. 27 high on the tower raged for 26 hours, spreading downward and knocking out almost all TV service to 15 million people in Moscow and the surrounding area for three days. The blaze, which killed three people, is believed to have been sparked by a short circuit.

Only the most essential features have been restored since, as the government considered various repair plans and struggled for money to finance the work.

A lack of money to repair the fire damage quickly has already caused the tower to develop cracks in its concrete walls, construction officials have said.