Washington Monument to get Close-Up Inspection

Posted September 27th, 2011 at 9:49 am (UTC-5)
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One of the most recognizable monuments in Washington is to get some visitors, but they will not be tourists.

Engineers plan to rappel down the exterior sides of the Washington Monument later Tuesday. Their mission is look for cracks and assess other damage from last month's 5.8 magnitude earthquake.

The quake was the largest to strike the eastern part of the United States since 1944, shaking the U.S. capital as well as towns and cities up and down the East Coast.

The nearly 170-meter obelisk has been closed to the public since the quake, and the National Park Service says storms that hit the area since then may have caused additional damage to the monument.

Despite the concerns, the superintendent of of the National Mall and Memorial Parks says the monument is “structurally sound and not going anywhere.”

The Washington Monument has been closed to the public since the August 23 quake. The National Park Service says it hopes its assessment of the obelisk will be completed by mid-October.

The structure was completed in 1884.

On Monday, the National Park Service released surveillance videos which shows the earthquake shaking the monument's structure and people running down the stairs as debris falls from the ceiling.