Elevator problem closes Washington Monument

WASHINGTON — The Washington Monument was closed Tuesday because of an elevator problem, which forced dozens of visitors to hike down the monument’s stairs.

The elevator stopped at the at the top level Tuesday afternoon, says National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst. The 15-20 people on the elevator and about 25 people at the observation level were safely evacuated, Litterst adds.

Elevator technicians were inspecting the monument Tuesday afternoon. The monument will remain closed until the inspection in complete along with any necessary repairs.

Elevator problems have closed the monument several times over the past year.

In May 2015, an elevator power failure cause a multi-day closure. In June 2015, the monument closed to allow for repairs to a mechanical alignment issue with the elevator. The park service says the elevator problem was caused by the repeated elevator shut downs in May.

Also, in August 2015, an elevator malfunction forced 63 people — two of whom were pregnant — to walk the 500 feet down to the bottom after being stranded at the top.

In February 2016, the monument was closed for several days after the elevator control box was inadvertently damage by a contractor working in the structure on an unrelated issue.

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Sarah Beth Hensley

Sarah Beth Hensley is the Digital News Director at WTOP. She has worked several different roles since she began with WTOP in 2013 and has contributed to award-winning stories and coverage on the website.

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