National Park Service Warns: Washington Monument Has Extensive Cracking, Chipped Stones

The National Park Service has issued a report in which they state that the earthquake damaged Washington Monument has been subjected to extensive cracking and chipped stones near its peak, damage that has left the structure susceptible to rainfall and further damage.

According to the report the structure was found to have crack and loose stone settings along the entire 555-feet of the monument.

The report was prepared by an independent engineering firm whose employees repelled down the side of the monument in September to gather a more extensive collection of damage reports. It was the first time a closeup inspection of the monument had been conducted since being hit with a 5.8-magnitude earthquake on Aug. 23.

While the report did not offer a construction cost a recent federal spending bill allocated $7.5 million to fix the 127-year-old structure with the National Park Service required to raise another $7.5 million to aid in the recovery of the structure.

Among repairs being recommended in the report were:

  • Reinforcing the cracks with stainless steel plates and filling them with sealant;
  • Replacing as many loose pieces of marble as possible and shoring them up with steel anchors or mortar
  • Cleaning and re-sealing all joints in the top portion of the monument to keep water out.

Also recommend was a much needed seismic study which would help determine the possibility of further damage to the structure in the case of future earthquakes.

At this time the structure is structurally sound however cracks have allowed rain water to collect and create a substantial amount of water at the base of the monument’s observation levels.

Do you think $15 million is a steep price to pay for fixing the monument or does the symbolic nature of the monument require immediate attention?