factor into its schedule a detailed approval process: The National Park Service
had to sign off on each type of proposed repair.
“Every repair required that a mock-up be done and
inspected and approved by the National Park Service
and the architect engineer,” Mr. Collie explains. “We
demonstrated each repair, how we would do it, the
products that would be used, the quality of the work,
and how the remainder of those types of repairs would
be done to maintain that high level of quality.”
These mock-ups dominated the first six weeks of the
Once the mock-ups were approved, the team of
masons from Lorton Stone got to work, starting at the
monument’s top 100 feet ( 30 meters). “That’s where the
result of the earthquake was magnified,” Mr. Collie says.
“Because of physics, that’s where you’re going to get the
The team members closed the largest cracks at
the top with epoxy, an adhesive. They removed and
replaced deteriorated mortar joints between panels, and
they added panel anchors to help secure the pyramidion
panels should another high-magnitude earthquake ever occur.
Moving down the structure, the team completed more than 150 Dutchmen
repairs—instances where epoxy couldn’t fix the damaged stone. The masons
took photographs and prepared drawings to demonstrate the size of each piece
of marble they would replace. Once that was approved, the team removed the
cracked stone and replaced it with new material. Each small repair took about
three days—and each one had to be approved by on-site National Park Service
By October 2013, the team reached the bottom of the monument, which
sustained comparatively little damage during the quake.
Because the project took place outdoors, the team had planned for weather
delays, yet throughout much of the execution, the project benefited from benign
weather. As project completion came within reach, that changed.
“Weather was among our number-one concerns from the start because 99
percent of the work was exterior, and it was subject to not only winds, but rain
and temperature,” Mr. Collie says.
In late 2013, as the temperatures dropped, the team set up tarps and temporary heaters so work could continue, but then the weather worsened. One
storm brought wind gusts of up to 60 miles (97 kilometers) per hour, sending
tarps flying and forcing project work to halt for several days. To get the schedule
back on track, more masons were added, workdays were extended, and some
weekend work was required.
Mr. Collie credits careful planning—and a stellar team—for the project meeting its May 2014 goal: That month, the National Park Service welcomed visitors
back into the monument.
“We had great documents, great drawings to rely on. Procedures were very
detailed,” Mr. Collie says. “And we had a group of very talented craftsmen and
workers and inspectors. It was a great team approach to a great project.” PM
EACH SMALL REPAIR
TOOK ABOUT THREE
DAYS—AND EACH ONE
HAD TO BE APPROVED
BY ON-SITE NATIONAL
PARK SERVICE REPRESENTATIVES BEFORE
COULD BE MOVED TO
A team member radios
her ground crew.
Construction of the scaffolding
took three months.