Washington Monument elevator problem believed to be fixed

- One of the D.C.'s most iconic landmarks has been plagued by elevator problems recently.

The Washington Monument's elevator malfunctioned twice this week, but the National Park Service said they believe they have figured out why it keeps breaking down.

The earthquake back in 2011 damaged the Washington Monument, but even though one of the nation's most recognizable symbols has been repaired, some wonder if the monument's lone elevator is still suffering from the aftershocks.

However, the National Park Service said the recent elevator problems have nothing to do with the quake.

“What we're having over the last couple of days is sort of an intermittent problem with the door controls,” said Mike Litterist of the National Park Service. “The doors are getting a faulty reading that something is blocking them, so therefore they won’t close. And of course, if the doors don’t close, the elevator won't operate.”

You might think the elevator is brand new from the earthquake rehabilitation project, but it’s not.

“The elevators were installed during the renovation of the Washington Monument that occurred between 1999 and 2002,” said Litterist. “They do predate the earthquake. Part of earthquake repair did not include replacing the elevator.”

The park service said the only thing replaced were a few rails that allow the elevator to function. They were bent during the earthquake.

Despite this week's problems, there is no talk of replacing the elevator. Technicians replaced a door sensor that wasn't working on Wednesday and believe that was the problem.

The National Park Service has faith in this elevator and its life span should be 20 to 30 years.

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