Washington, D.C.: Capitol Rotunda reopens; Washington Monument's elevator still broken

Washington, D.C.: Capitol Rotunda reopens; Washington Monument's elevator still broken, It’s been a tough summer for tourists in Washington, D.C. The Capitol Rotunda, which welcomes about 2 million visitors a year, closed in July for renovation work.

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It’s been a tough summer for tourists in Washington, D.C. The Capitol Rotunda, which welcomes about 2 million visitors a year, closed in July for renovation work.

A month later, the Washington Monument closed after the elevator gave out (specifically an elevator cable), grounding one of the most popular free ride-to-the-top attractions in the capital.

But here’s the good news: The Capitol Rotunda reopened to visitors Tuesday. And the circular room 96 feet in diameter and 180 feet high has been spiffed up too.

Water leaking through the dome had caused cracks in walls and damaged some of the dome’s “decorative elements,” according to a statement from the Architect of the Capitol.

Repairs to the inside dome began in July 2015; the closure on July 23 allowed workers to remove scaffolding. Renovation work continues in the outer/inner dome area but is expected to be completed in time for the presidential inauguration in January.

The Washington Monument’s elevator, however, doesn’t seem to be as easy to fix.

It closed Aug. 17 and now looks like it won’t reopen until mid-September because repairs are taking longer than expected.

According to a National Park Service statement, the landmark may upgrade its elevator completely. That would cost $2 million to $3 million and take about nine months to complete.

No contracts have been awarded for the work that’s still in the planning stages.

The 555-foot obelisk also closed in August 2011 after a rare magnitude 5.8 earthquake damaged some of its granite and marble stones. Repairs were extensive, and the monument didn’t reopen until May 2014.

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