WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Park Service named a Massachusetts contractor Wednesday to repair the Washington Monument's earthquake damage, though it may take two more months before work begins at the National Mall site.
Perini Management Services Inc. of Framingham, Mass., beat out two other bidders to win a $9.6 million contract that includes extensive repairs to the monument's stonework. It will involve building massive scaffolding around the 555-foot-tall monument, sealing cracks inside and out, repointing the mortar, cleaning the exterior and strengthening weak spots with metal brackets.
The total cost of repairs, including work already completed, is $15 million.
Federal officials said the contractor's parent company, Los Angeles-based Tutor Perini Corp., was the prime contractor for the construction of the Ronald Reagan Building, Washington's largest federal building. The contractor's team also includes firms involved in a restoration of the monument completed in 2000.
"We are again one step closer to getting this important landmark reopened to our visitors," said Robert Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.
The marble and granite obelisk has been closed to the public since a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the region on Aug. 23, 2011. The upper portion of the monument sustained large cracks when it shook violently during the quake. It will likely remain closed to visitors until 2014.
At a gift store nearby, visitors still ask why the monument is closed and when it will reopen, a worker said.
Maryann Albert, a nurse from Philadelphia, was riding her bicycle with her husband near the monument Wednesday but didn't know it was still closed.
"I keep thinking, one of these days I should come down and go up in it," she said.
It would help to have a sign explaining the monument to George Washington is closed, she said. Instead, yellow tape at the base reads "Police Line: Do Not Cross."