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Lights Out for Washington Monument

The monument's ornamental lights, flipped on while repair work has been underway, are going dark.

Workers on top of the Washington Monument surveying damage shortly after the 2011 earthquake. (Photo courtesy National Parks Service.)
Workers on top of the Washington Monument surveying damage shortly after the 2011 earthquake. (Photo courtesy National Parks Service.)

In many ways, the Washington Monument is Washington, DC. When people see it, they know they're in the nation's capital.

Now, though, not many people will see it at all.

The Washington Monument, all 555 feet of it, is going dark. Temporarily.

A $15 million repair project — necessitated by the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the East Coast on Aug. 23, 2011 — is nearing completion. So, the scaffolding that has encompassed the monument and the decorative lights placed on it to make it look not-so-awful, are coming down.

The lights went on July 8 and the 500 tons of scaffolding shortly before that so that workers could repair cracks in the facade. They'll go off on Monday, and the scaffolding will begin coming down Nov. 12.

High up on the Washington Monument, where weather, storms and time have caused age spots, workers have fixed most of the earthquake damage.

The external repairs are 80 percent finished, and the monument is on track to reopen by spring, the National Park Service told The Washington Post.

Inside, things aren't so pretty. The interior is only about 30 percent complete, Park Service spokeswoman Carol Bradley Johnson told the paper, and and the grounds around the monument have to be re-landscaped.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” she said.

The scaffolding, which started to go up in February and reached the peak in May, will take about three months to remove. Once complete, the monument, which can be seen for miles into Maryland and Virginia, will glow again.


Ned November 02, 2013 at 06:31 PM
WHy not upgrade to higher efficiency bulbs while refurbishing the monument?
Ty Thompson November 03, 2013 at 10:29 AM
And add two more months and 2 million dollars?

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