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People Got Stuck At Top Of Washington Monument When Elevator Broke After 37-Month, $10.7 Million Renovation

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The Washington Monument’s elevator broke down Saturday in the nation’s capital after its Sept. 19 reopening following a 37-month, $10.7 million renovation.

Elevator service was suspended around 1 p.m. on Sept. 21 but was back up and running that afternoon, The Washington Post reported citing the National Park Service (NPS).

“Normal operations resumed after about an hour,” NPS spokesman Mike Litterst said in a statement. He also apologized for the inconvenience and added that tours were still on schedule.

“We were able to reset the system and everyone who had been at the top was able to take the elevator back down,” Litterst said according to WTOP.

The monument had been closed since August 2016 for repairs and renovations worth over $10.7 million — $3 million of which philanthropist and Carlyle Group co-founder David M. Rubenstein donated for the monument’s elevator, according to NPS.

“It’s relatively easy to get money for medical research, which is important, and its relatively easy to get money for education,” Rubenstein told The New York Times. “But if you tell somebody that a monument or a memorial is falling apart and needs to be restored, you find relatively fewer people willing to do that.”

The NPS budget funded the monument’s new $7.785 million blast-proof security screening facility, NPR reported on Sept. 19.

“The re-opening of the Washington Monument is another example of how the Trump Administration is enhancing visitors’ experiences at national parks and public lands by better meeting critical infrastructure and maintenance needs,” an August NPS news release reads.

Visitors will pass through X-ray machines and a magnetometer and then wait in an “interlock room” before being allowed into the elevator, according to NPR. (RELATED: Trump Delivers ‘Salute To America’ As Americans Brave Pouring Rain On The National Mall)

“There’s no way that a coordinated effort could be made by a group of terrorists to come into the monument,” NPS’s National Mall and Memorial Parks chief of the professional services division, Sean Kennealy, told NPR. “Through those [observation deck] windows, you have a huge vantage point to do harm.”

Construction on the Washington Monument first began in 1848.

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