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Engineers Report Washington Monument Needs Major Repairs Due To Quake Damage

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Dangerously damaged. A team of engineers releases its report on the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. rocked by an earthquake in September. And the results are disturbing.

Kai Jackson has a closer look at what’s wrong with our national treasure.

A 35-page report says the Washington Monument is cracked and chipped and needs major repair work. That’s the recommendation of an engineering study commissioned by the National Park Service.

“I think the person working there has some steel nerves,” said a witness to the Washington Monument’s rapelling following the earthquake.

The monument was damaged August 23 by an earthquake, centered 92 miles south of Washington D.C. in Mineral, Va.

At 555 feet, the monument is the tallest structure in the nation’s capital.

“The walls of the elevator are metal, so they started to shake,” a park ranger, who was inside the Washington Monument at the time of the quake, said.

After the quake, engineers scaled the outside of the monument, inspecting every nook and cranny, brick by massive brick.

“It’s actually a process that’s used in big wall climbing and places like Yosemite and El Capitan,” another park ranger explains.

Now, that same engineering firm says the earthquake rendered the monument highly vulnerable to water damage.

The report does more than simply outline problems. In it, engineers also recommend solutions that they believe will fix the Washington Monument.

The California-based firm recommends reinforcing cracks, filling them with sealant, replacing loose pieces and shoring up anchors and mortar, and also cleaning and resealing joints.

“It’s wonderful that they do this and that they’re trying to find out what is the trouble up there,” said a spectator.

The report doesn’t state how long the repairs will take or exactly who is going to pay for them. A recent spending bill allocated $7.5 million for the monument to be repaired, but it also requires that the Park Service come up with private donations to match that money.

The earthquake that hit the region was 5.8 in magnitude.

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