Photo of the Washington Monument taken from inside the WWII Memorial.
The Washington Monument has been closed since the August 2011 earthquake rattled the 555-foot obelisk, loosening the mortar and causing cracks in the stone slabs near the top of the structure.
The price tag for the repairs is nearly as steep as the monument itself — $15 million. The government and philanthropist David Rubenstein are splitting the tab.
Before beginning the repairs, engineers had to inspect the monument, rappelling up and down the structure to check each rock. They encased the monument in special scaffolding and are now finally beginning the extensive repair work.
A lighting ceremony is planned tonight for the Monument. Park service leaders and Rubenstein will be in attendance. Officials say the installation of ornamental lighting and blue-gray fabric known, as "scrim" will give the monument a glow-in-the-dark look at night.