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Washington Monument To Reopen Almost 3 Years After Earthquake

WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Nearly three years after an earthquake shook the nation’s capital, the Washington Monument will finally reopen to the public.

Linh Bui reports with what it took to get the job done.

Repairs to the Washington Monument are finally complete after a massive restoration project that took almost three years.

On August 23, 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake rattled the Washington, D.C. area, literally moving the Washington Monument.

“There’s one little spot where the monument just shifted a little bit,” said Sally Jewell, interior secretary. “A half inch or five eighths of an inch.”

The monument, 100,000 tons of solid rock, cracked and crumbled–one crack was four feet long–so efforts began to repair the 555 foot structure.

Finally, three years later, the debris is gone. Cracks are filled, joints are reinforced and now the public can visit once again.

The official reopening ceremony takes place at 10 a.m. on Monday. The event is open to the public.

The restoration took time and money–enter Baltimore native David Rubenstein. The Baltimore City College grad donated $7.5 million–half the project’s cost.

“I try to call what I’ve done a patriotic philanthropy, which is to say try to give back to your country in any way you can. That’s part of what I’ve tried to do with the Washington Monument,” Rubenstein said.

Because of his contribution, the iconic landmark will open on time and on budget. A one-of-a-kind building is standing tall once again.

“You just get chills when you look at the monument,” said tourist Yvonne Moreno.

Public tours of the Washington Monument begin at 1 p.m. Monday, but you will need a ticket.

Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis starting at 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Washington Monument Lodge.

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