Washington National Cathedral Reopens After Earthquake
Washington National Cathedral Reopens After Earthquake - The Washington National Cathedral reopened today, 10 weeks after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook Virgina and left cracks in the landmark. The damage mostly occurred in the higher parts of the cathedral, which at 300 feet, is the tallest building in Washington D.C.
“What has happened over the past 10 weeks is workers have been stabilizing the building to reopen,” spokesman Richard Weinberg told ABCNews.com.
Safety measures will still be in place until all repairs are complete, including netting on the ceiling and a safety barrier on the perimeter of the building.
Weinberg said the cathedral still needs to replace the tower’s limestone pinnacles, which weigh a few tons each.
The pinnacles have been secured and have no bearing on the structural integrity of the cathedral, according to the Cathedral’s web site, however they do help to balance the weight of the building and counter the force of wind.
Repairing the cathedral has become a daunting challenge of money, skill and time.
“Just off the top of my head I could envision it taking at least two years to repair the tower and get all this stonework back,” lead mason Joe Alonso told D.C. mayor Vincent Gray, ABC 7 in Washington D.C. reported.
The stone landmark, which was built by hand and completely by donations, took 83 years to complete.
Officials said they hope to raise $25 million to help fund repairs.
More than half a million people visit the cathedral each year.