Washington Monument reopens after 3 years of repairs

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(ABC News) — After three years of repairs, the Washington monument will reopen to the public on Thursday.

The monument closed in 2016 after an elevator cable snapped, but the years of repairs covered far more than that broken wire.

“We were going to do a renovation on the overall elevator system,” said Brian Hill, a public information officer for the National Park Service. “But then while we were doing it, then we also had the security facility that needed to be upgraded and updated.”

To enter the monument, visitors will go through two vault-like doors and a security checkpoint.

The monument will reopen to the public at noon on Thursday, with first lady Melania Trump expected to appear during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

PHOTO: The Washington Monument is seen past a sign greeting visitors during a press preview tour ahead of the monuments official reopening, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Washington.
The Washington Monument is seen past a sign greeting visitors during a press preview tour ahead of the monument’s official reopening, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Washington.more +

This is not the first time the monument has been closed for repairs in recent years. It closed in 1998 for restoration and in 2011 because of earthquake damage.

“We’re frankly excited to get the monument back open to the public,” Hill said. “We have missed having our public visiting us.”

Washington’s tallest structure stands 555 feet, 5 1/8 inches above the mall and was originally completed in 1884. It took 40 years to construct, with a delay for the Civil War.

When the obelisk was first completed, it was the tallest building in the world.

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