TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Capitol up next for face-lift, at cost of $60M

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Los Angeles Times
Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, 6:54 p.m.
 

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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Planet Mars likely had ocean, lost it, researchers find
  2. WVU, Va. coal company at odds over research papers
  3. Hillary email controversy reminiscent of 1996 episode
  4. Florida woman wields a shotgun in forcing son to jump from window
  5. Bullet-ridden dog tied to tracks saved in Florida
  6. Natural gas royalties lawsuit hinges on transaction date
  7. Los Angeles rookie officer claims shooting victim grabbed his gun
  8. Hillary Clinton may have broken federal record-keeping laws, New York Times reports
  9. Case on Obamacare tax subsidies heads to Supreme Court
  10. Top Senate Republican to states: Ignore EPA carbon rules
  11. McConnell wants EPA rule rejected