Bad news for tourists visiting Washington, D.C., for the Cherry Blossom Festival next spring. The 555-foot-tall Washington Monument will be closed for the next nine months to fix the building's sole elevator, the National Park Service announced Wednesday evening.
The monument has dealt with repeated elevator outages this summer, forcing tourists to descend the monument's fifty-five stories of stairs to exit. Earlier this week, officials said the tourist attraction would be closed 10 days for inspection and repairs. Worse-than-expected results prompted officials to shut down the monument long-term for proper repairs.
The monument was closed to the public for nearly three years following a 2011 earthquake that compromised the obelisk's vertical stature. Since it reopened, it has had to be closed for repairs 24 times.
"I believe NPS erred in not rehabilitating the elevator when the monument was closed for renovations," D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said in a statement Wednesday. "When an elevator seems to be in good shape, but is a one-of-a-kind elevator that operates 13 hours per day from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and eight hours per day thereafter, the elevator's lifespan must be uniquely measured."