Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rappelling engineers begin assessing earthquake damage to Washington National Cathedral

From The Washington Post-

The same engineers who captivated tourists and passersby by rappelling down the Washington Monument began a similar operation Monday at the National Cathedral, the other major landmark to be damaged by an earthquake that shook the nation’s capital.

The “difficult access team” from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. began its work Monday when Emma Cardini emerged at the top of a 234-foot tower. She was joined minutes later by Katie Francis and, using ropes and harnesses, the two women efficiently worked their way down the front of the building.

The inspection is expected to last about two weeks, said Dan Lemieux, who heads WJE’s Fairfax, Va., office and is supervising the project. The engineers are looking for loose, cracked or unstable stones that could pose a risk to people on the ground. Those stones will be removed before the cathedral’s scheduled reopening on Nov. 12.

Last week, stone masons removed 2 tons of stonework from a pinnacle damaged by the 5.8-magnitude earthquake on Aug. 23. Three of the four pinnacles on the 300-foot central tower were severely damaged and the 2-ton section had shifted off its base.

More here-


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