Capitol up next for face-lift, at cost of $60M
WASHINGTON — Visitors to Washington have seen the iconic Washington Monument don a blanket of scaffolding while it undergoes repairs from an earthquake. Soon, they will see a similar look at the opposite end of the National Mall.
For about two years, the Capitol dome will be covered with scaffolding while it gets its first complete restoration in more than five decades, starting next month.
The project, budgeted at nearly $60 million, is being handled by the Architect of the Capitol, while the National Park Service oversees the Washington Monument repairs just over a mile away.
The dome will still be visible through the scaffolding, giving it a more transparent look than the monument, said Justin Kieffer, an Architect of the Capitol spokesman. And beyond the visual transformation during the repair work, the effect on Congress and visitors is expected to be minimal.
Kieffer said the dome is about 150 years old, “and we've been making sure that it's safe and been conducting small repairs when needed.”
The cast-iron structure is the second dome to sit atop the Capitol. It replaced a smaller and potentially flammable wooden dome when it was built in the mid-1800s.
But the dome has not undergone a complete renovation since 1959-60, and more than 1,000 cracks have made it increasingly unsafe. Fixing the cracks and stopping any leaking are “required to ensure the building can last for another 150 years,” Kieffer said. Another part of the restoration process is removing and replacing ornaments that are at risk of falling.
Public tours will still be conducted through the Capitol during the work, except for a few weeks when a canopy is installed in the rotunda to protect visitors. Tour groups will not go through the rotunda at that time, Kieffer said.
The Architect of the Capitol announced the contractor for the project this week and is working to establish an exact timeline to start and complete the project. TurnerSmoot, a joint venture, was awarded the contract.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Graham rejects GOP Benghazi report as ‘garbage’
- Ohio dairy farmers cashing in on gas well boom
- Boy with fake gun shot by officer dies
- Tension, anxiety mount in Ferguson as grand jury ruling awaited
- Police code of conduct aims to curb unlawful seizures from motorists
- Even before Ebola contained, U.S. looks to next health crisis
- 32 horses killed in stable fire near Chicago
- Report: College judicial boards work secretively
- Letter that inspired Beat poet Kerouac discovered
- Locavore movement takes to deer hunting across country
- Spying software reportedly snooped on companies, governments, individuals since 2008