The iconic U.S. Washington Monument will be reopening to the public on Monday after years of repairs from damages due to the 2011 earthquake that caused cracks. (May 11)

The cracks have been repaired. The stone has been patched. The elevator is fixed.

The 500 tons of scaffolding have been down for weeks, and the lawn is freshly mowed.

On Monday, 994 days since an earthquake shook the Washington Monument from top to bottom, the marble-and-granite national landmark reopens to the public.

Tours resume at 1 p.m., following a 10 a.m. reopening ceremony.

"We just got the new exhibits installed yesterday," Bob Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, said during a preview visit to the monument Saturday.

The outer perimeter of fencing has been removed, along with the construction road. But an inner fence perimeter still was in place Saturday keeping tourists at bay.

Since the August afternoon when a video camera captured terrified tourists fleeing from the shaking observation level 500 feet up, an estimated 1.5 million people have been deprived of the spectacular view and a major stop on visits to Washington.

For more than 2 1/2 years, the mammoth two-toned structure stood surrounded by a chain-link fence with signs declaring it closed, as the seasons on the National Mall passed and visitors snapped pictures from afar.

Yet it was always there.

"It is so ever-present," Caroline Cunningham, president of the Trust for the National Mall, the Mall's nonprofit fundraising partner, said last week. "I think people feel connected to it whether they can get into it or whether they can't."

Eighteen-hundred tour tickets for Monday will be available starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Monument Lodge in Washington on 15th Street between Madison and Jefferson drives, the National Park Service said.

Tuesday, the monument will begin seasonal hours of 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets can be reserved online at the website recreation.gov. Vogel said when online ticketing opened for the season on April 16, 16,000 tickets were gone in 15 minutes

The repair project came after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck the East Coast on Aug. 23, 2011, whipsawing the monument, shaking stone loose from the surface, and opening cracks so wide that light shined through.

Debris tumbled from the exterior and interior of the 555-foot-tall obelisk, damaging the internal elevator and leaving cracks and gouges in the outside stone.

"I had only been superintendent for a couple of weeks," Vogel said in an email last week. "I have to admit it was something of a trial by fire and a huge challenge."

The repair project required, among other things, inspectors to lower themselves on ropes from the monument's top to conduct up-close, and hair-raising, examinations of the damaged stone on each face of the structure.

It required 2.7 miles of new sealant between stones, and 53 stainless steel "saddle anchors" to bolt in place slabs on the monument's slanted pyramidion in case of another earthquake.

The slabs had been held in place mainly by gravity, and engineers worried that the slabs could fall off, James Perry, the chief of resource management for the Mall and memorial parks, said Saturday.

The repair work was relatively straightforward, but "it's the Washington Monument, so there's a lot of it," Perry said, as he stood on the observation level inside the structure.

Robert Collie, project manager for Perini Management Services, the general contractor, said there was a bittersweet feeling now that the job was ending.