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National Cathedral Showcases Repairs 2 Years After 5.8 Magnitude Earthquake

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WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Another setback for an American treasure–the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

Two years after an earthquake cracked and crumbled parts of the structure, the cost of repairs has grown to $26 million.

Kai Jackson has the new worries about paying for the fix.

Engineers say they’re making good progress on the repairs. But the price tag to fix the cathedral has increased significantly.

The National Cathedral is slowly being restored to its former glory. In 2011, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in the region damaged the historic house of worship.

Right now, repairs to the ceiling are underway.

“Masons will get up there, open up any joints, re-tuck point with mortar. You see the staining up here, that will be cleaned off. And we also have other needs to address,” said Joe Alonso, stone mason foreman.

One of the biggest needs now is money for the repairs. The early estimate for the work was around $20 million. But a financial officer with the cathedral says it will cost $26 million–$6 million more than expected.

The quake toppled massive pieces of stone and left cracks and fissures throughout the building.

“There is a grand pinnacle on the south transept with a large scaffold around it, which is going to be a very complicated process for us to disassemble,” said Andrew Hullinger, Cathedral Director of Finance.

The past few years have been challenging for the cathedral and those who maintain it. As workers continue repairing earthquake damage, they were also faced with a new problem in July.

A vandal splattered green paint inside two of the cathedral’s chapels. It’s a defacing that added insult to injury.

“Those of us who entered the cathedral very shortly after the quake found on the floor of the nave–all over the cathedral floor–I call them little debris fields,” Alonso said.

Right now, it’s estimated it will take 18 months to complete the repairs.

The cathedral says, so far, it’s raised $10 million toward repairs.

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