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Engineers tackle Washington earthquake damage

Ongoing earthquake damage inspections in Washington DC have revealed cracking in the Washington Monument, turret damage at the Smithsonian, and a multi-million dollar repair bill for the National Cathedral.

A secondary inspection of the Washington Monument has revealed that stones at the top of the structure sustained cracking as a result of Tuesday’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake on the east coast of the US. Structural engineers are assessing the cracks to determine what repair work is necessary.

The Smithsonian Institution is working to secure five decorative turrets on the east side of the Smithsonain Castle, to prevent further damage in Hurricane Irene, expected to hit the east coast this weekend. Engineers are continuing to assess earthquake damage to the institution’s other buildings.

The Washington National Cathedral, badly damaged in the earthquake, faces a repair bill of “millions of dollars”, with none of the costs covered by insurance. The masonry building is so far believed to be structurally sound despite damage to its flying buttresses, but numerous unique, hand-carved elements of the building’s exterior must be replaced, at high cost. Cathedral dean Sam Lloyd said the building would re-open in time for 11 September commemoration events, but the full repairs could take many months to complete.

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