Washington Monument Damage Surveyed by WJE of Chicago

You may have heard or seen on the news that the Washington Monument, the most visible and prominent monument in Washington D.C., is currently being surveyed for damage that resulted from the earthquake that rocked the US Capital in August, 2011. What you may not be aware of is that the surveying is being conducted by a team of structural engineers from Chicago, Il based Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc (WJE)  – http://www.wje.com a firm of structural engineers, architects, and materials scientists specializing in the investigation, testing, and design of repairs for buildings, bridges, etc…  From the firm’s website…  Engineering experts from WJE’s Difficult Access Team (DAT) began rappelling the Washington Monument on Tuesday, September 27, 2011, on behalf of the U.S. National Park Service to help assess any impact from the August earthquake in central Virginia.

Work on surveying teh structural damage started today. This from NPR… For several hours, engineer Dave Megerle was perched atop the 555-foot monument, setting up a rope system and other equipment that will allow the rappelling team to traverse the exterior of the monument looking for cracks, chips and other damage. To get there, he climbed through a hatch that hadn’t been opened in 11 years.

Some interesting facts about the Monument (via NPS):

  • Washington Monument was built between 1848 and 1884 as a tribute to George Washington’s military leadership from 1775-1783 during the American Revolution
  • The winning architect was Robert Mills, whose design called for a neoclassical plan which provided for a nearly-flat-topped obelisk surrounded by a circular colonnade on which would stand a statue of Washington in a chariot
  • In an elaborate Fourth of July ceremony in 1848, the cornerstone was laid
  • Weighing 81,120 tons, the Washington Monument stands 555′ 5-1/8″ tall
  • A slight color change is perceptible at the 150′ level near where construction slowed in 1854
  • Inserted into the interior walls are 193 memorial stones presented by individuals, societies, cities, States, and nations of the world
  • flights of 896 steps surround an elevator which takes visitors to the observation level

Image Credit: National Park Service