Washington Monument To Be Closed For A Year And A Half For Repairs

WASHINGTON (WJZ) — It may have stood up to last summer’s big East Coast earthquake, but the Washington Monument still needs a lot of help.

Alex DeMetrick reports it needs $15 million and a year and a half in repairs.

You can see the tourists look up but that’s about all they can do at the Washington Monument. It’s been closed to visitors ever since it was seriously rattled in the 5.8 earthquake last August. But not everyone from out-of-town knows that.

“Coming all the way from Georgia, we really looked forward to visiting it but then we looked at the news this morning and found out it was going to be closed,” said Danita Hayes.

“I would like to take all of the kids up to see all of Washington, D.C. from the top of the monument. Great experience for them,” said Brian White.

But the structural engineers who inspected the monument inside and out found cracks, missing stone and mortar and slipped panels of marble.

“The work itself [to fix it] is difficult. Getting there is even more difficult,” said Carol Johnson, National Park Service.

According to the National Park Service, that means extensive preparation.

“Main thing is the scaffolding. It’s very difficult to get it. It’s 555 feet. We’ve got to put the scaffolding around the whole thing, scaffold the inside,” Johnson said.

“I’d seen when they had scaffolding on the Statue of Liberty and it was kind of cool. An engineering feat, as well,” said Joel Kemmer.

About $15 million has been set aside for repairs, although it could cost more.

“We hope to mobilize in September. If everything goes well, then we could be done by late 2013,” Johnson said.

The Washington Monument was completed in 1884. Before the quake, it brought in 600,000 visitors a year.

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