WASHINGTON -- Workers have started building scaffolding around the 555-foot-tall Washington Monument to make repairs to stonework damaged in a 2011 earthquake.
The scaffolding being built by workers was slowly rising from the base of the monument Thursday, but reopening the monument to the public is still a long way off: Officials have said it will take four to five months just to build the scaffolding.
The National Park Service awarded a $9.6 million contract in September 2012 to begin repairing the monument. It will involve scaffolding around the entire monument, sealing cracks, repointing the mortar and strengthening weak spots.
The marble and granite obelisk has been closed to the public since a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the region on Aug. 23, 2011. The upper portion of the monument sustained large cracks. The total cost of the repairs is $15 million.