Washington Monument reopens after 3-year closure for repairs

WASHINGTON (AP) — After a three-year closure, the Washington Monument is reopening to the public.

The 555-foot stone obelisk closed in September 2016 in order to replace the aging elevator and upgrade security systems. The monument will reopen to the public at noon on Thursday and first lady Melania Trump is expected to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The monument has been closed for most of the past eight years. An August 2011 earthquake left cracks in the stones near the top of the obelisk. It reopened in 2014 but National Park Service officials were forced to close it again two years later after a series of elevator breakdowns.

The monument, which was completed in 1884 and remains the tallest building in Washington, averages about 500,000 visitors per year.

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