The Washington Monument is going to reopen in August after a three-year renovation. The inside of the 555-foot obelisk in D.C. will open to the public for the first time since August 2016. A specific reopening date or time has not been announced reports CNN.
The monument was erected in 1885 to honour the country’s first president. It closed three years ago “due to the unreliability of the elevator control system,” according to the National Park System (NPS), who manages it.
The Washington Monument suffered damage due to an earthquake
In August 2011, the monument suffered significant damage after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake damaged the obelisk. The earthquake caused nearly 150 cracks. The structure underwent $15 million worth of repairs and reopened in 2014. However, it closed again two years later when an elevator cable snapped.
This time, repair work included upgrading the elevator system as well as replacing the temporary screening building that was built following the 9/11 attacks. The new permanent security building is now a glass and steel building that includes screening equipment. It also has an office and a waiting space for about 20 visitors at a time.
The Washington Monument’s elevator has been renovated
A representative for the monument said, “The modernization of the monument’s elevator is substantially complete, with just final testing and certification of the safety systems remaining.” The monument was scheduled to reopen earlier this year but the project was delayed. The NPS said it was due to the “mitigation of possibly contaminated soil in the construction area.”
Though the inside of the Washington Monument hasn’t been accessible to the public, the building itself has not remained dormant. Earlier this month, the National Air and Space Museum projected a video of the Saturn V rocket ship on the monument for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
Philanthropist David M. Rubenstein was a chief donor to the restoration project. He has funded work at several other historic sites in the capital, including the Lincoln Memorial and the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument.