Washington Monument to stay closed until 2014
The National Park Service released an assessment calculating $15 million in repairs for the Washington Monument, which are estimated to take 12 to 18 months to complete. Renovation on the structure should begin in September, according to the Washington Examiner. The Park Service expects to name a contractor by September, and bids were issued for the job on June 29.
“I’m disappointed, sure,” said Dennis Beaver, a Texas tourist who was walking by the monument Monday afternoon with his family. “But safety comes first. It isn’t often that you have a earthquake here.”
According to the Washington Times, most of the damage from the magnitude 5.8 earthquake occurred at about 475 feet on the 555 foot structure.
The work will involve full scaffolding to allow crews to repair the damaged stone. Some of the repairs needed include removal of loose stone fragments, reposting of mortar joints, reinstallation of the lighting protection system, and masonry anchors to strengthen the stone. The elevator to the observation deck has already been repaired.
To install all the scaffolding required, most of the plaza, flags, and stone benches will have to be removed.
Bob Vogel, NPS Superintendent, added that the Park Service has included a request in the bid to have more eye-catching scaffolding, possibly including a patriotic decorative cloth, instead of “just putting up the standard, boring scaffolding.”
David M. Rubenstein, a philanthropist and co-founder of the Carlyle Group, pledged $7.5 million in January the help pay for repairs. The federal government will match the donation.