The Washington Monument Earthquake Repair project was recognized with an Engineering Excellence Grand award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Metro Washington. Louis Berger, in joint venture with Hill International, provided construction management services for the $15 million project. The Grand award is the highest honor given by ACEC Metro Washington.
On August 23, 2011, a magnitude-5.8 earthquake damaged the monument. Cracks formed in the century-old stone at the top of the monument, known as the pyramidion, and water damage was discovered inside the monument after Hurricane Irene hit the D.C. area on August 27, necessitating significant stone repairs.
The project posed numerous logistical, safety and security challenges, including identifying and documenting all necessary repairs on a project site with limited access and space. There were also a number of safety hazards due to the monument’s height and location.
The restoration was completed on May 8, 2014, eight days ahead of schedule. In total, the project repointed 2.5 miles of mortar joints, repaired 1,200 linear feet of cracks, and installed 150 square feet of Dutchman repairs. More than 75,000 man hours of work were recorded during the repairs with no OSHA-reportable injuries or accidents. The project was also completed under budget.
The ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards celebrate the most outstanding project achievements in the field of engineering around the world. Projects are judged based on originality, innovation, value to the public and the engineering profession, complexity, social and economic considerations, sustainability, and exceeding client needs.