The Washington Monument remains closed following Tuesday's earthquake as officials continue to assess damage to the famed monument, the National Park Service (NPS) said.
Cracks in the monument were discovered in the wake of the 5.8 magnitude earthquake. No timetable has been announced for when the landmark might reopen.
“We are bringing in WJE because of their experience not only with seismic issues, but with historic structures,” Robert A. Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, said in a news release. “The Washington Monument is one of America's most important landmarks and we will do whatever it takes to ensure that it is restored completely and correctly.”
According to the NPS statement:
The National Park Service (NPS) has engaged an engineering firm with extensive experience in earthquake damage assessment and repair to further assess the Monument after an inspection today uncovered additional cracks in the pyramidion, or uppermost section of the structure.
NPS structural engineers, historical architects, and engineers with expertise in earthquake engineering from Wiss, Janney, Elstner (WJE) Associates, Inc. of Northbook, IL, and Tipping Mar Associates of Berkeley, CA will conduct detailed assessments on the Washington Monument. Both firms specialize in investigating earthquake-damaged structures after major earthquakes.
WJE is world-renowned, investigating damaged buildings from more than 30 earthquakes around the world. They also have experience working on NPS historical structures, including the stabilization and seismic update for the Alcatraz Cellhouse at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and repair of the 352-foot tall Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial in Ohio. A team from WJE will be arriving in Washington tomorrow to begin to completely assess the damage and to determine what repairs will need to be made before the Monument can be reopened to the public.