Washington Monument reopens after $10 million facelift
The Washington Monument reopened Monday after a three-year restoration
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Visitors get their first close-up look at the Washington
Monument's $10 million facelift Monday as it reopens after a three-year
"It's opening up to the people to come and see what's been done to
preserve their Washington Monument," said Bobbie Donaldson, chief of
CNN National Correspondent Martin Savidge shows what visitors to the newly renovated monument can expect
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| BIRD'S EYE VIEW|
The government celebrated the job's completion several weeks ago, even
though work on the 555-foot (169-meter) obelisk wasn't quite finished. Now
that it is, those who worked on the project say they can hardly wait to watch
"It is the final test," construction manager
Mike Couacaud said. "Let the public in there and see."
For the most part, the popular tourist attraction honoring the
nation's first president has stood the test of time. Stone masons touched up the outside, replacing crumbling granite with
stone from the same quarries from which the monument's original pieces were carved 112 years ago.
Better viewing, tighter security
"That stone is almost as good as new," Couacaud said. "The corners are still sharp, and you
almost see the original marks from the original masons that put it in."
The view inside, from the floor to 500 feet overhead, also has been improved.
The windows have been enlarged by several inches, the elevator runs better and the air
conditioning's colder. Workers also replaced the monument's lightning-protection system and installed new exhibits.
The windows have been enlarged by several inches, providing better views of the city
Authorities have tightened security around the monument after a recent
study found it to be particularly vulnerable to terrorist attack. Visitors now
face a gantlet of barriers and metal scanners around one of the capital's main
In the old days, as many as 4,000 people visited the monument daily --
more than 1 million annually -- but the new security is expected to cut that
number in half.
This re-opening is short-lived. The monument will close again for two months
starting in December, when a new elevator cab will be installed.
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