Questions remain on elevator issues at Washington Monument

WASHINGTON — There’s a little more insight into what caused the elevator issues that closed the Washington Monument twice since May.

“The problem is external to the power that comes into the monument,” D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said in reference to recent power surges and outages.

Norton was briefed on the elevator issues in a meeting with National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent Karen Cucurullo, Deputy Superintendent Sean Kennealy, Chief of Maintenance Joseph Salvatore.

Four monitors now are connected to computers inside the Washington Monument to detect and respond to power surges, Norton said.

“You can then diagnose it more readily,” she added. “In the meantime, you can catch it in safety terms.”

The power issues haven’t been fully explained, but Norton is confident the Washington Monument elevator is safe.

“After the briefing that I had,” Norton continues, “I’m willing to take my three-year-old grandson and his brother who’s three-months-old up in the Monument tomorrow.”

Norton says she wants a permanent solution to the electrical problems. For two years, they have disrupted Monument operations during tourist season.

Meanwhile, the Park Service says it regrets the inconvenience of closures.

“The National Park Service and our professional, contracted technicians continue to monitor the power and electrical service that caused the Washington Monument elevator closure earlier this month,” spokesman Mike Litterst said in a news release.

In an email, Pepco spokesman Marcus Beal says the electrical issue wasn’t caused by Pepco equipment: “Our engineers installed voltage monitoring devices to assist with diagnosing the problem and will continue to offer assistance although the problem was not caused by Pepco.”

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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