WASHINGTON — Repairs to the Washington Monument, damaged in last summer’s earthquake in the eastern United States, could see it kept closed to the public until 2014, the National Park Service said Monday.
The 555-foot (169.3-meter) landmark is to be shrouded in scaffolding from top to bottom for the estimated $15 million project that should get underway in September, spokeswoman Carol Johnson told AFP.
“We know it will take 12 to 18 months. It could very well go into 2014,” she said, as the National Park Service released an assessment of the damage wreaked by the 5.8-magnitude earthquake on August 23.
“The main reason for that is accessibility. It will take months just to put up the scaffolding,” she said, adding that most of the damage is above the observation level near the top of the world’s tallest obelisk.
Completed in 1884, the marble-and-granite Washington Monument welcomed more than 450,000 visitors a year before the earthquake hit. It sustained cracks throughout, but its overall structural integrity remained intact.
[Image via Flickr user Curtis Palmer]