Washington Monument restored after 2011 East Coast earthquake

This restoration and repair project involved re-pointing 2.5 miles of mortar joints, repairing 1,200 linear feet of cracks, and installing 150 sf of Dutchman repairs.

November 30, 2015 |
Washington Monument restored after rare East Coast earthquake

An earthquake and Hurricane Irene caused damage to the Washington Monument in 2011. Photos courtesy Hill International

On August 23, 2011, a magnitude-5.8 earthquake—the largest temblor east of the Rocky Mountains in more than a century—struck Louisa County, Va., causing significant damage to historic structures in Washington, D.C. Among the most severely affected was the Washington Monument. Cracks formed in the century-old stone at the top of the monument, and water damage was discovered inside the monument after Hurricane Irene hit the area later that month.

BRONZE AWARD

Building Team: Hill International (submitting firm, CM); National Park Service (owner); Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates (architect); Tutor Perini (GC)
General Information: Size: 93,408 sf. 
Construction cost: $11.3 million. Construction time: November 2011 to May 2014. 
Delivery method: Design-bid-build

This restoration and repair project, which was completed under budget and eight days early (despite several setbacks), involved re-pointing 2.5 miles of mortar joints, repairing 1,200 linear feet of cracks, and installing 150 sf of Dutchman repairs.

For the initial damage assessment, a team of engineers rappelled down the outside of the monument and documented the damage using iPads. Once the scaffolding was installed, the team conducted more thorough reviews from the 490-foot level to the top of the monument, where the majority of the damage had occurred.

To keep costs within budget, the team carefully measured the unit price repairs and determined which were crucial and which were not. Available funding was reallocated to pay for scope additions that were deemed essential. The team also established uniform standards to serve as a baseline for repairs throughout the monument.

This process eliminated unnecessary aesthetic repairs, prevented scope creep, and ensured lasting repairs.

 

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