Rappelling team resumes check of Washington Monument

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 03, 2011 11:43 AM
Rappelling team resumes check of Washington Monument

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Engineers resumed rappelling down the earthquake-damaged Washington Monument on Monday after high winds forced a weekend delay in their checks of the 555-foot-high obelisk.

"They are out there now, doing just what they have been," said National Park Service spokeswoman Carol Johnson.

The initial examination had been expected to be completed by Tuesday but it now is uncertain when it will be finished, she said.

Gusty winds accompanying a cold front on Sunday forced the team of rappelling engineers checking the monument for damage to cancel its plans.

Winds were so strong last Friday that one engineer, Erik Sohn, was lifted well off the west face and blown to the south side, said Daniel Lemieux, unit manager of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, the Illinois company carrying out the work.

The monument, finished in 1884, sustained cracks more than an inch wide during the 5.8 magnitude earthquake on August 23.

The structure suffered more damage from heavy rains accompanying Hurricane Irene in late August and from summer storms, the National Park Service has said.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson, Editing by Peter Bohan)