• Washington Monument with scaffolding in 2013
  • Washington monument
  • aerial view of the Washington Monument
  • Washington monument under repair
  • Washington monument undergoes earthquake damage repairs

    Photo by Colin Winterbottom | © Trust for the National Mall

  • Washington Monument with scaffolding

    Photo by Colin Winterbottom | © Trust for the National Mall

  • Washington monument under repair

    Photo by Colin Winterbottom | © Trust for the National Mall

  • Washington monument with scaffolding in 2013

    © Ron Cogswell

  • Washington monument under repair

    © Ron Cogswell

  • Washington monument under repair

    © Ron Cogswell

  • scaffolded pyramidon of Washington Monument

    Photo by Colin Winterbottom | © Trust for the National Mall

  • scaffolded Washington Monument during earthquake repairs

    Photo by Colin Winterbottom | © Trust for the National Mall

Repaired national landmark reopens to the public

Built to honor George Washington, the first president of the United States, the Washington Monument is a stone obelisk that stands on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It was completed in 1884 and, at a little more than 555 feet, it is the world’s tallest stone structure.

Challenge
On August 23, 2011, the monument was damaged by a magnitude-5.8 earthquake. The heaviest damage was to the top of the monument, known as the pyramidion. Along the rest of the monument, masonry on all four sides also suffered damage.

Solution
Louis Berger, along with Hill International, was chosen by the National Park Service to provide construction management services during the repair process.

The National Park Service commissioned the repairs to be done in several ways:

  • Loose fragments were secured with adhesives and anchors drilled into the backing of the stones.
  • Missing stones were filled with exact-fit pieces and reinforced with mortar and rods.
  • Cracks were filled with epoxy-based adhesives and then sprinkled with limestone dust to hide the cracks.
  • Damaged lime mortar was taken out and replaced so water can flow off the monument instead of getting caught in the stones.

The iconic national landmark, which was encased in scaffolding and closed to the public during repairs, reopened in May of 2014.