Washington Monument almost ready for the public - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Washington Monument almost ready for the public

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Large cracks were visible in the Washington Monument after an earthquake in 2011. (Source: National Park Service) Large cracks were visible in the Washington Monument after an earthquake in 2011. (Source: National Park Service)
Daniel Gach and Emma Cardini from WJE, an engineering firm, conduct exterior assessment of the Washington Monument after an earthquake, Sept. 28, 2011. (Source: National Park Service) Daniel Gach and Emma Cardini from WJE, an engineering firm, conduct exterior assessment of the Washington Monument after an earthquake, Sept. 28, 2011. (Source: National Park Service)

WASHINGTON, DC (RNN) - The last of the scaffolding will be removed this week around the Washington Monument, which was damaged in an earthquake in 2011, the National Park Service announced Tuesday.

"We are delighted to be in the homestretch with the repairs to the Washington Monument almost complete, and we look forward to the re-opening on May 12 so we can once again welcome visitors to this iconic monument to our nation's first president," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered about 90 miles away in Virginia damaged the 555-foot obelisk on Aug. 23, 2011. As a result of the temblor, more than 150 cracks to the structure needed repairs.

The cost of the repairs is around $15 million; Philanthropist David Rubenstein donated $7.5 million - half the cost.

Tour tickets will be available on the National Park Service webpage starting 10 a.m. ET April 16.  Public tours will begin on the day of the reopening, May 12, will begin at 1 p.m. For tickets, visit www.recreation.gov.

Built between the years 1848 and 1884, the Washington Monument is a tribute to the country's first president, George Washington. Designed by architect Robert Mills, the construction took a long time because of funding issues and the Civil War.

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