Washington Monument to reopen in August

(CNN) — The Washington Monument is one of the United States’ most iconic symbols. And it will finally reopen to the public in August 2019 after years of improvements.

The 555-foot (169-meter) marble obelisk, a centerpiece of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was built between the 1840s and 1880s. It is dedicated to the country’s first President, George Washington.

Several factors have contributed to the monument’s needs for upgrades. One of them was the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook the area in August 2011, resulting in structural damage, including some 150 cracks in the obelisk.

After $15 million in repairs, the site reopened in May 2014. However, two years later, a snapped cable on the elevator that ferried guests to the top of the obelisk resulted in another closure.

This time around, the refurbishments have been broader in scope — most notably, there is a new visitor screening center that replaces the temporary structure put there after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

According to a release from the National Park Service, “the new glass and steel facility will offer full ballistic and blast protection and includes queuing space for 18-20 visitors at a time, screening equipment, an accessible restroom for National Park Service and U.S. Park Police staff and a security office.”

The monument is on track to reopen to the public in August 2019, with a specific date and time to be set soon.

“The modernization of the monument’s elevator is substantially complete, with just final testing and certification of the safety systems remaining,” a representative for the monument, which is managed by the National Park Service, tells CNN Travel.

Philanthropist David M. Rubenstein was a chief donor to the restoration project. He has also funded work at several other historic sites in the capital, including the Lincoln Memorial and the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument.

This article originally appeared here