The Washington Monument may reportedly remain closed until 2014 while repairs are made to damage caused by the 2011 Virginian earthquake.
National Park Service officials estimate the cost of the repairs to be $15 million and say the work will include the structure’s exterior and parts of its interior to be enclosed by scaffolding.
The project may also require the temporary removal of its granite plaza and the building of an access road on the south side of the monument.
Superintendent Robert A. Vogel of the Park Service’s National Mall and Memorial Parks told The Washington Post that some of benches and flagpoles may need to be removed for repairs to progress.
Vogel was quoted from a September press conference as saying that the monument was not in danger of collapsing.
“It’s structurally sound and not going anywhere,” he told reporters.
Officials closed the 555-foot obelisk in August after the 5.8 magnitude quake left cracks in the structure, particularly around its top region, and caused pieces of stone to detach and mortar to shift, according to USA Today.
After being hit by Hurricane Irene that same week, water was found inside the monument. It cost $200,000 to inspect the structure for further damage.
Shifts in the mortar used to hold the blocks together were found to have created angled openings that could allow sunlight, rain and snow to seep through.
Repairs are expected to start in the fall.