WASHINGTON -- The National Park Service named a Massachusetts contractor Wednesday to repair the Washington Monument's earthquake damage, though it may take two more months before work begins at the National Mall site.

Perini Management Services Inc. of Framingham, Mass., beat out two other bidders to win a $9.6 million contract that includes extensive repairs to the monument's stonework. It will involve building massive scaffolding around the 555-foot-tall monument, sealing cracks inside and out, repointing the mortar, cleaning the exterior and strengthening weak spots with metal brackets.

The total cost of repairs, including work already completed, is $15 million.

Federal officials said the contractor's parent company, Los Angeles-based Tutor Perini Corp., was the prime contractor for the construction of the Ronald Reagan Building, Washington's largest federal building. The contractor's team also includes firms involved in a restoration of the monument completed in 2000.

"We are again one step closer to getting this important landmark reopened to our visitors," said Robert Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.

The marble and granite obelisk has been closed to the public since a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the region on Aug. 23, 2011. The upper portion of the monument sustained large cracks when it shook violently during the quake. It will likely remain closed to visitors until 2014.

At a gift store nearby, visitors still ask why the monument is closed and when it will reopen, a worker said.

Maryann Albert, a nurse from Philadelphia, was riding her bicycle with her husband near the monument Wednesday but didn't know it was still closed.

"I keep thinking, one of these days I should come down and go up in it," she said.

It would help to have a sign explaining the monument to George Washington is closed, she said. Instead, yellow tape at the base reads "Police Line: Do Not Cross."

The monument normally has about 700,000 visitors a year who ride an elevator or climb stairs to the top.

Park service project manager Michael Morelli said gaining access to the tall monument is the most difficult portion of the project. The repair work is relatively easy.

The park service may add extra metal brackets to some stone panels that are similar to those that cracked to provide extra support in case of a future earthquake.

Within about 60 days, work will begin at the site to start building scaffolding. That alone will take four to five months, said Brian Labbe, who will serve as construction manager for Perini Management.

Scaffolding also will likely be built inside the monument's top pyramidion, where some of the worst damage was found.

Once work begins, the project will take 12 to 18 months to complete, officials said.

Congress allocated $7.5 million to pay for part of the repairs. In January, Washington businessman David Rubenstein pledged another $7.5 million.

The monument was completed in 1884 and was the world's tallest structure until 1889, when the Eiffel Tower was built. Vogel said it remains the tallest freestanding stone structure in the world.

"The monument," he said, "is one of a kind."

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  • Aug. 23, 2011 Earthquake

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  • Aug. 23, 2011, Earthquake

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  • National Cathedral Damage

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  • National Cathedral Damage

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  • Traffic Gridlock Following Quake

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  • 5.8 Earthquake Hits East Coast

    WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 23: A driver climbs out of his cars to survey a traffic jam on 14th Street NW near the Ronald Reagan Building after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake rattled the East Coast August 23, 2011 in Washington, United States. The quake, centered near Miner, Virginia, rattled states from Maine to North Carolina but produced no serious injuries or damage. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • Aug. 23, 2011, Earthquake

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  • Aug. 23, 2011, Earthquake

    Cars are gridlocked on L Street NW in downtown Washington on Aug. 23, 2011, following a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

  • Aug. 23, 2011, Earthquake

    People stand on in the intersection of H Street NW and New York Avenue near the White House in Washington, on Aug. 23, 2011 after evacuating from buildings following a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the Washington area. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • Aug. 23, 2011

    People stand at 18th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue near the World Bank on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011, after office buildings where evacuated following an earthquake in the Washington area. The 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered northwest of Richmond, Va., shook much of Washington, D.C., and was felt as far north as Rhode Island and New York City. (Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

  • National Cathedral Damage

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  • Union Station

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  • Union Station

    Earthquake repairs in Union Station's Main Hall, as seen in December 2011.

  • Union Station

    Earthquake repairs in Union Station's Main Hall, as seen in December 2011.

  • Union Station

    Earthquake repairs in Union Station's Main Hall, as seen in December 2011.

  • Union Station

    Earthquake repairs in Union Station's Main Hall, as seen in December 2011.

  • Washington Monument Damage

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  • Washington Monument Damage

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  • Washington Monument Damage

    A team of engineers, from left, Dan Gach, Emma Cardini, center, and Katie Francis, harnessed to ropes , inspect the exterior of the Washington Monument for damage caused by last month's earthquake, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011, in Washington. (Photo by Evan Vucci/AP)

  • Washington Monument Damage

    Emma Cardini, a civil engineer from Melrose, Mass., right, and a member of the difficult access team, dangles by a rope more than 500 feet above ground, with a co-worker Daniel Gach, as they inspect the exterior of the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. (Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

  • National Cathedral Damage

    A girl looks earthquake-damaged pinnacles at the National Cathedral on March 24, 2012. Tourists toured the cathedral's central tower for the first time since the 5.8 neartquake hit the U.S. capital on August 23, 2011. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

  • National Cathedral Damage

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  • National Cathedral Damage

    Emma Cardini, a member of the Difficult Access Team from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, inspects a gargoyle while rapelling down one of the north tower on the west front of the National Cathedral while looking for damage from the Aug. 23, 2011, 5.8 magnitude earthquake on October 17, 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • National Cathedral Damage

    National Cathedral Head Stone Mason Joe Alonso points to some of the damage the catheral sustained during the Aug. 23, 2011, 5.8-magnitude earthquake. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • Washington Monument Damage

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  • Washington Monument Damage

    An engineer of a Difficult Access Team with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates removes lose stones from the Washington Monument on Oct. 3, 2011. The DAT team continued the inspection of the monument to find whether there were more damages caused by the 5.8-magnitude earthquake on Aug. 23, 2011. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • Virginia Earthquake Damage

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  • Virginia Earthquake Damage

    A sign on the door lets customers know the Four Seasons Fitness club was closed after the building was damged by the Aug. 23, 2011, 5.8 earthquake in Mineral, Va. The epicenter of the quake, the East Coast's largest since 1944, was located a few miles outside of Mineral, a town of 430 people located about 50 miles west of Richmond. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Virginia Earthquake Damage

    The chimneys and a portion of the wall are heavily damged on a landmark home in an area known as Cuckoo following the Aug. 23, 2011, 5.8 earthquake near Mineral, Va. The epicenter of the quake, the East Coast's largest since 1944, was located a few miles outside of Mineral, a town of 430 people located about 50 miles west of Richmond. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Virginia Earthquake Damage

    Workers begin repairs on the City Hall building, which is also the local DMV office, after the building was damged by the Aug. 23, 2011, 5.8 earthquake in Mineral, Va. The epicenter of the quake, the East Coast's largest since 1944, was located a few miles outside of Mineral, a town of 430 people located about 50 miles west of Richmond. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Washington Monument Damage

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  • National Cathedral Damage

    Against a foggy backdrop, from left, head stone mason Joe Alonso, Andy Uhl and Dave McAllister help guide the damaged upper portions of the southeast grand pinnacle as it is hoisted by a crane from atop the central tower of the Washington National Cathedral, in Washington, on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011. The Cathedral's central tower pinnacles were damaged by the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck the East Coast on Aug. 23, 2011. The damaged portions of pinnacles are being removed to make the pinnacles and central tower stable until the stonework can be repaired and put back in place. (AP Photo/Nikki Kahn, Pool)