The Washington Times - November 9, 2011, 07:28PM

Anyone in the District who in recent months has not gotten used to seeing engineers dangling from our national monuments, be warned.

The team that captivated onlookers with their high-climbing inspections of the Washington Monument and the Washington National Cathedral will return to start prepping the former landmark for winter weather.

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National Park Service officials said Wednesday the difficult access team from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates will spend next week at the Washington Monument’s topmost point plugging cracks in the exterior marble caused by August’s 5.8-magnitude earthquake.

“The August earthquake caused a lot of cracks and spalls in the monument that are now letting water in when it rains, so weatherization can’t wait,” said Bob Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks. “The work we’re doing now won’t completely seal the monument, but it will significantly reduce the amount of water getting in until more permanent repairs can be designed and completed.”

The cost to temporarily protect the 555-foot monument is $240,000. The park service and engineers have not released a final analysis and cost estimate to permanently fix the structure.