Exciting news for anyone traveling to Washington, D.C. this fall! After three years of extensive renovations, the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. has reopened to the public for the first time since 2016.
The renovations were completed in order to enhance security at the landmark and repair the elevator inside the monument. The new security post is at the base of the monument and replaces a temporary checkpoint that was in place after 9/11.
What will the new security experience be like for visitors?
According to NPR, visitors and their belongings will first pass through X-ray machines and a magnetometer, similar to an airport security experience. Then they'll go through a thick metal door and into an "interlock room," where they'll wait until another heavy-duty door opens and they're allowed into the elevator boarding room.
Sean Kennealy, chief of the professional services division for the Park Service's National Mall and Memorial Parks, anticipates that the new security process will take longer than it did previously. The National Park Service will offer only same-day tickets for the first month of operation to until they can determine how many visitors it can realistically serve each day. After that, tickets will be offered online.
The new security checkpoint cost nearly $8 million and was funded by the National Park Service budget. The new elevator cost $3 million, which was donated by a private donor.
On it's grand re-opening on Thursday, September 19th First Lady Melania Trump along with a group of fourth graders from Amidon-Bowen Elementary School cut the ceremonial ribbon to unveil the monument.
From atop the 555-foot obelisk, visitors have breathtaking views of U.S. Capitol, Washington National Cathedral, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial, among other national landmarks.
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