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Contact: Mike Litterst, 202-245-4676
Washington – National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent Gay Vietzke and members of her staff met this afternoon with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton to brief her on the recent spate of closures at the Washington Monument and give her a progress report on the modernization of the elevator and its control systems, the planning and design of which is currently underway.
“We very much appreciate the congresswoman’s support and interest in the Washington Monument,” said Superintendent Vietzke. “We share her frustration in its continued closure and are working diligently to determine the causes for the recent problems and to develop a long- term solution to modernize the elevator.”
The monument has been closed since last Wednesday, when the compensating cable broke loose from the bottom of the elevator cab. That closure followed two others earlier in the week, prompting the National Park Service to close the monument to perform a thorough evaluation of the elevator to understand the reasons for the recent service interruptions. Work presently being completed includes inspection and cleaning of the hoistway; checking the integrity of the circuit breakers using thermal imaging; inspection of and completing any needed repairs to the fans on top of the elevator car; and cleaning of and work on the lighting in the stairwell.
While initial projections were that the elevator would be closed until at least the end of August, the work is proving more time consuming than initially estimated. It is expected this work will now not be completed until mid-September.
Information gained in the course of the current evaluation will also provide important data for the project to modernize the Washington Monument elevator. The National Park Service is currently developing schematic design (SD) options so decisions can be made as to which components of the elevator system need to be replaced. After the SD phase, construction documents outlining all necessary repairs will be prepared for contractors to use in submitting bids.
When a contract is awarded and the project reaches construction phase, the Washington Monument is expected to be closed to the public for approximately nine months while the work is completed. There is no time table for when that closure might occur. The modernization of the elevator is expected to cost between $2-3 million. The National Park Service is committed to completing the work as promptly as possible while ensuring that visitor safety is a top priority.