Washington Monument cracks to be filled during weatherization

      WASHINGTON (AP) Engineers who rappelled down the Washington Monument to check for earthquake damage will return to the structure to fill cracks with temporary sealant.

      National Park Service spokesman Carol Johnson says the engineers will return to the top of the monument Thursday to set up ropes and equipment. The weatherization work on the monument will begin Monday and is expected to last five days. It will cost about $240,000.

      The work will be performed by the "difficult access team" of engineers who captivated onlookers by dangling from ropes atop of the monument in September.

      They will be filling cracks caused by the quake and gaps left by loose pieces of marble that they removed during the inspection. The work will reduce the amount of water entering the monument when it rains.