Washington, a city of monuments, is about to get another: a memorial to the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Work recently got under way on the half-acre island in the lake in Constitution Gardens, the parkland on the south side of Constitution Avenue west of 17th Street NW where the Navy's World War I-vintage "temporary" buildings long stood. The Vietnam veterans memorial is being built nearby.

The memorial to the signers of the Declaration is a legacy from the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration. Surplus funds from the nation's 200th birthday celebration will be used to build the memorial, which was authorized by Congress in 1978.

Access to the memorial island will be across an existing bridge. Memorial plans call for a landscaped garden, with a granite walkway leading to a semicircular plaza. In the plaza will be 13 groups of low, horizontal stones--a group for each of the original states. There will be 56 stones in all, each etched with the signature of a signer of the Declaration.

Placement of the signature stones is expected by July, with dedication of the memorial in the fall, according to the National Capital Region of the National Park Service, which is overseeing the project. The designer is EDAW Inc. of Alexandria, and the contractor is the Fort Myer Construction Corp.