Washington Monument breaks down again, strands 135 people at top

Washington Monument (ABC7 file photo)

The Washington Monument was back open to visitors Monday morning, after the elevator broke down twice over the weekend. Between those two break downs, 135 people were stuck at the top and most had to walk the 555 feet down.

The monument’s elevator has broken down four times already this summer. But the National Park Service assures visitors that even though the elevator keeps trapping them at the top, it is not a safety concern.

The Park Service points out each time the elevator breaks down, it’s for different and unrelated reasons. The two times this past weekend were due to a breaker that tripped – likely because of the heat and its strain on the electrical grid. The third time was for a bearing that went bad and the fourth for an electrical issue. An ABC 7 I-Team report found that in the past 15 months the elevator has broken down and closed the monument 23 times – but not all of them stranded people at the top. It’s now breaking down nearly two times a month. But as far as all the people that are inside the monument today, the Park Service says they are safe.

“There are safety measures upon safety measures and back-up systems that keep the cab in place,” said National Park Service Spokesman, Mike Litterst. “This is an inconvenience, for not only the Park Service, but our visitors. But it is not a safety issue.”

The National Park Service has announced that the elevator control panel inside the monument will be replaced. But there is no time frame or cost for that project, which is in the beginning stages.

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