WASHINGTON, D.C. - The iconic Washington Monument, a fixture on the National Mall that towers over the U.S. Capitol and was once the world's tallest building, is set to reopen on Sept. 19 after years of repairs.
The National Park Service oversees the 555-foot marble obelisk built to honor the nation's first president, George Washington. Construction began in the 1840s but was interrupted for 20 years before resuming in the 1870s. The monument has been shut down for a large part of the past decade.
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A rare 5.8-magnitude earthquake on the East Coast in 2011 damaged the popular tourist attraction, cracking the tower and damaging the structure's elevator, Smithsonian magazine reported.
It took almost three years and $15 million in repair work before the monument would reopen in 2014, but then, in 2016, an elevator cable snapped, Smithsonian reported, closing it down again.
The latest repairs also include a new screening center to replace a temporary one erected after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
"The new glass and steel facility will offer full ballistic and blast protection and includes queuing space for 18-20 visitors at a time, screening equipment, an accessible restroom for National Park Service and U.S. Park Police staff and a security office," CNN reported, citing a National Park Service news release.
The project was scheduled for completion this spring, but a discovery of contaminated soil around the monument pushed the reopening back.
For the first month after it reopens, tickets for the monument will only be available for purchase onsite, on a first-come, first-served basis.
After Oct. 19, they can be ordered in advance online.