Work continues ahead of Washington Monument’s big reopening

August 31, 2019

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There is still work to be done on the Washington Monument before it reopens to the public on September 19.

“It’s not unlike if you’re building a house or anything else,” said National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst. “There’s a lot of sort of last minute, punch list kind of things that need to get done.”

The towering obelisk has been closed for three years for elevator control system upgrades and the construction of a new security screening building at its base.

The Washington Monument’s new security screening building. (Courtesy Mike Litterst)

“Park Police [are] getting in the security equipment: the x-ray machine, the magnetometers that people have to pass through, running through all those various tests of the electronics to make sure everything works,” Litterst said.

Once the building is ready to go, employees will be brought in for training.

Heavy equipment can be seen being used to remove a temporary construction road leading to the monument. (Courtesy Mike Litterst)

“We’re going to have a week or so of getting the staff trained and making sure that the new systems work [and that] everybody knows how to work the new elevator. All of that will take us right up until the opening day,” said Litterst.

Outside, crews are working to make a temporary construction road leading to the monument from Independence Avenue, disappear.

“We’re putting topsoil down, we’ll be sodding it…so that when we get to opening day, the grounds of the monument will look like nothing has occurred out there,” Litterst said.

As for the fencing that surrounds the monument, that will likely stay up until very close to the reopening date.

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