UPDATE: As of May 2014, the scaffolding is down and the Washington Monument is opening up again to public tours. You can reserve timed entry tickets at Recreation.gov.
In late-September 2012, the National Park Service awarded a $9.6 million dollar contract to repair the monument to California-based Tutor Petrini Management Services Group. There is, as yet, no publicly announced schedule for completing the repairs and reopening the monument, but in July 2012 the NPS said that the monument could remain closed into 2014. More recently, they have declined to give any date.[foot]Michael E. Ruane, “Earthquake-Damaged Washington Monument May be Closed Into 2014,” Washington Post, 9 July 2012.; Candace Wheeler, “Contractor Chosen for Washington Monument,” Washington Post, 26 September 2012.[/foot]
A damage assessment completed in December 2011 found that the damage is extensive, with cracks and chipped stones throughout, and concluded that the monument remains structurally sound, but that the cracks in the marble make it particularly vulnerable to water leakage from rainstorms. The lightning protection system will also need replacing, and steel plate reinforcement plates installed. In short, getting the Washington Monument back to tip-top shape will be a very big job indeed. The monument will be shrouded in scaffolding as repairs are done, part of the granite plaza at its base along with some flagpoles and benches might be removed temporarily, and a new access road on the south side constructed to facilitate vehicles involved in the work.[foot]Michael E. Ruane, “Earthquake-Damaged Washington Monument May be Closed Into 2014,” Washington Post, 9 July 2012.[/foot]
The earthquake’s tremors cracked some of the monument’s stones and loosened mortar and joint filler, creating holes in the exterior. You can make out a little of the exterior damage in this shot taken in December 2011.
The scaffolding started going up in February 2013. The photo at the top of this page shows what it looks like covered in scaffolding in the summer of 2013.