The National Park Service has awarded a contract to Perini Management Services, Inc. to repair the Washington Monument after it was damaged by an earthquake last year.
The agency chose the Massachusetts-based business for a $9.6 million contract, which comes from a $15 million fund created by Congress and philanthropist David Rubenstein.
The 555-foot-tall obelisk has been closed to the public since a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in August 2011. The upper portion of the monument sustained large cracks when it shook violently during the quake.
"This is a major step toward getting the Monument safely opened to the public once again," Bob Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, said in a release Wednesday. "We know that visitors have been disappointed that the Monument has been closed. I want to assure them that the National Park Service is doing everything possible to get this iconic landmark reopened as soon as possible, and we appreciate their patience."
Engineers have determined repairs will require massive scaffolding to be built around the monument. It will likely be closed for repairs until 2014.
Perini Management Services is under the umbrella of Tutor Perini Corporation, the prime contractor for the Ronald Reagan Building -- the largest federal building in the District of Columbia.
The Washington Monument was completed in 1884 and was the world's tallest structure until 1889, when the Eiffel Tower was built.