Washington Monument Reopens Nearly Three Years After Earthquake Damage Closes It

May 12, 2014 - 4:42 PM

Earlier this afternoon, the Washington Monument re-opened after being closed for repairs for about 32 months.  The 5.8-magnitude earthquake in 2011 caused damaged to the iconic obelisk, which led to the exhibit being shut down until all repairs to the marble could be made.  Nevertheless, the monument re-opened to the public at 1pmamidst a crowd of 1,800 eager tourists (via USA Today):

About 1,800 members of public, including veterans wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families, are being allowed inside starting at 1 p.m. ET. Beforehand, the National Park Service had an hourlong reopening ceremony with schoolchildren, bands, singers and speeches.

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The epicenter of the Aug. 23, 2011, earthquake that damaged the iconic obelisk on the National Mall was about 90 miles southwest of Washington but caused more than 150 cracks in the monument's marble, including one that split a stone from top to bottom near the peak of the monument.

Crews assessed the damage in September 2011 and created a report on what needed fixing. For the past two years, construction workers have been mending the marble and reinforcing weak spots.

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The project was completed on time and within budget, thanks to a $7.5 million donation from financier David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group that was matched with money from Congress, Anzelmo-Sarles said.

While a few humorous memes were created after the earthquake, thankfully, there was no significant damage and there were no casualties in the aftermath.

About one-third of the entire U.S. felt the Virginia earthquake that damaged the monument.