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Passenger elevators in Carlsbad Caverns National Park are working once again.

Park officials announced today the elevators, which stopped working late last year, will go back into operation Friday now that repairs have been made.

The work included installation of new steel reinforcing beams and wall anchors in a hoistway. Park officials say a structural engineering firm has inspected the steel work and that the park also conducted additional testing to ensure the elevators are safe for passenger use.

While the elevators were not in use, visitors could enter the caverns by walking down the Natural Entrance, a 1.25-mile walk described by park officials as a “steep hike.” They also, however, had to exit the caves the same way – a steeper hike.

“I am thrilled that the crews worked so diligently to get these renovations done quickly and safely,” said Caverns Superintendent Doug Neighbor. “I also would like to thank the contracting staff in Denver, who expedited the contracting process. It was a great team effort to get these elevators up and running again.”

The Caverns will also be changing to its extended summer hours – 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. – beginning May 27. Bat Flight Programs will also resume May 27, nightly from closing till dusk.

Self-guided tours are available daily into the cavern, and ranger-guided tours are being offered this summer into King’s Palace, Hall of the White Giant, Slaughter Canyon Cave, Left Hand Tunnel, Lower Cave, and Spider Cave. Reservations for guided tours may be made at www.recreation.gov. For more information on the park, call 575-785-2232 or visit www.nps.gov/cave.