WASHINGTON — The Washington Monument will remain closed for at least the next 10 days so technicians can perform a “top-to-bottom” inspection of the monument’s elevator, National Park Service officials announced Friday.
The monument, which has been plagued by persistent elevator outages and other technical problems this summer, has already been shuttered for repairs since Aug. 17 after a compensation cable that stabilizes the elevator unexpectedly broke loose.
NPS spokesman Mike Litterst said the evaluation will help park officials understand the reasons for a series of recent equipment failures, which include a low-voltage power incident and glitches in the computer system that operates the elevator.
“It makes it very difficult to pinpoint a specific cause or to keep things up and running when it’s not the same thing time and again,” Litterst told WTOP.
During the upcoming 10-day closure, crews will inspect and clean the elevator shaft, check the integrity of circuit breakers using thermal imaging, and inspect and repair fans at the top of the elevator, according to NPS.
The monument was closed for nearly three years and underwent extensive repairs following the 2011 earthquake that rocked the D.C. region. Since the monument reopened to the public in May 2014, officials have closed it on 24 separate occasions, Litterst said.
“It’s a piece of machinery,” Litterst said. “There’s no way we can ever guarantee it will never break.”
The monument closed last Sunday after the elevator failed twice in 12 hours, including one incident where three employees were trapped inside the elevator.