D.C.

Washington Monument: Scaffolding begins to rise at Washington Monument

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Workers have started building scaffolding around the 555-foot-tall Washington Monument to make repairs to the damaged stonework following a 2011 earthquake.

The workers were building the scaffolding Thursday. It's slowly rising from the base of the monument.

The National Park Service awarded a $9.6 million contract in September 2012 to begin repairing the monument. It will involve scaffolding around the entire monument to George Washington, sealing cracks, repointing the mortar and strengthening weak spots.

The marble and granite obelisk has been closed to the public since a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the region on Aug. 23, 2011. The upper portion of the monument sustained large cracks. The total cost of the repairs is $15 million.

Officials have said it will take four to five months to build the scaffolding.

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