Washington Monument to Shut until 2019

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December 3, 2016

The Washington Monument will remain shut until at least 2019, according to the National Park Service. The well-known obelisk in the nation's capital has been shut since August because of ongoing problems with the internal elevator.

A crack near the top of the 555-foot-tall monument appeared after a 2011 earthquake that measured 5.8 on the Richter scale, and park service officials closed the building at that time, reopening it after nearly three repairs.

The ongoing shutdown will allow officials to make repairs to the electrical system, the computer system, and to other mechanical systems. The hallmark of the newly opened monument will be an entirely new elevator, so that visitors can once again rise nearly to the top and access an observation deck for panoramic views of the surrounding area.

The overhaul will cost between $2 million and $3 million, and businessman and philanthropist David Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group, will pay the entire bill. Rubenstein helped pay for the repairs that occurred after the earthquake as well.

Construction on the iconic monument began in 1848, and the dedication for the giant obelisk occurred in 1885.

Estimates are that more than 600,000 people visit the monument every year.

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