WASHINGTON D.C. – One of the nation’s historic monuments is in a bit of trouble!
Sitting right on the edge of the Potomac River gives the Jefferson Memorial a beautiful landscape and makes it a visual spectacle for tourists. Its location is also turning out to be a threat to the monument, as the river has been swallowing the memorial’s sea wall for years, In other words, the Jefferson Memorial is sinking and plans are being put into place to fix the problem The Washington Post reports.
On Tuesday, crews working in a dewatered section of the Tidal Basin prepared to demolish the old concrete sections of the sea wall as part of the $12.4 million repair project that the National Park Service has been planning since it realized the wall was sinking in 2006. The work is expected to keep the visually stunning north face of the memorial partially obscured by construction equipment through the rest of the tourist season.
Through some investigative work and engineering savvy, experts have discovered that the wall has been slipping away from the memorial’s north plaza because the timber pilings that were used to support the wall were probably not long enough to reach bedrock when the memorial was built in the 1930s and ’40s.
The 32,000-ton Jefferson Memorial, on an 18-acre site, is solid, officials said, although it has shifted some since its construction and is monitored for movement. The memorial, which honors the nation’s third president and main author of the Declaration of Independence, rests on concentric rings of 634 concrete pilings and pillarlike caissons sunk to bedrock. At least one goes down 138 feet. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the 18-month project is scheduled for completion next spring.
“We’ll measure this as a successful project if, when we’re done, no one will know we were ever here,” Phillip J. Sheridan told the Post, vice president of Clark construction.