Washington Monument remains closed indefinitely

Monday - 9/26/2011, 7:30pm EDT

By BEN NUCKOLS
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Park Service says the Washington Monument remains closed indefinitely to visitors because of damage sustained during last month's earthquake.

Officials say there's no timetable for reopening the structure.

Structural engineers have done a preliminary inspection inside the monument, where numerous cracks and chips were found after the 5.8-magnitude quake on Aug. 23. Starting Tuesday, engineers will begin rappelling down the sides of the monument to check for damage outside.

Dozens of pieces of stone fell in the interior of the monument during and after the quake, and park service officials say they need to make sure the obelisk is safe before the public is allowed inside.

The park service revealed Monday that the monument's elevator sustained minor damage during the quake. The elevator is working again.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Watch video of the inside of the Washington Monument during the earthquake.