Tourists hoping to go inside Washington Monument could be turned away until as late as 2014, according to the Washington Times.
National Park Service officials indicated that work on the structure would likely begin in September and, though it could take until 2014, might be completed by fall of 2013.
Here's some details regarding the Washington Monument and its restoration.
* The National Park Service's website indicated that the Monument had been closed for assessments following the damage that occurred Aug. 23, 2011, following a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shocked the region.
* NPS spokesperson Carol Johnson told the Washington Times that the majority of the damage to the monument could be found above 475 feet, including cracked stones, loose marble in the interior, lighting protection that needs to be reinstalled, and the elevator that would normally carry tourists to the observation deck. Most severely damaged was the pyramidion at the top of the structure. The monument is 555-feet tall.
* A post-earthquake damage assessment released by the NPS indicated that the pyramidion had suffered cracks in tie beams, that six exterior marble panels were cracked through the full thickness of each panel, and that at least one cornerstone had been permanently offset by an inch.
* In addition, there were water leaks, daylight was visible in some vertical joints, old cracks had reopened, and steel rods used to retain the elevator counter weights were bent.
* Of that damage, the elevator has been fixed.
* Reuters said the project would take $15 million to complete and would involve removing most or all of the granite plaza around the base of the monument. The removal will enable a massive scaffolding to be placed, shrouding the entire monument.
* On January 19, philanthropist David Rubenstien, co-founder of The Carlyle Group, donated $7.5 million towards repair work. The announcement on NPS' website included a thank you from Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes, who said the gift would help the government "move forward with the necessary repairs to reopen the monument to the public."
* Despite the closure and 100-degree weather on Sunday, a drive past the location around noon still found many tourists visiting the iconic landmark and taking in the historic sites on the National Mall on Constitution Ave.
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and lives near Washington in Gaithersburg, Md.
- Politics & Government
- National Park Service