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.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Legendary ‘Walking Dead’ unit deactivated by Marines
  2. Astronomers get look at birth of huge galaxy
  3. Judge strikes down Texas abortion law
  4. Odds of ‘megadrought’ in Southwest rises to 50%, study says
  5. Retailers warned about software
  6. Half-ton alligator sets world record
  7. Next hurdle for health care likely tax season
  8. Spouses of war casualties fight federal system to get benefits
  9. Ambassador: Britain close to identifying Foley’s killer
  10. Mortar round blamed in deadly plant blast near St. Louis
  11. Texas man cleared of shooting drunken driver who killed his 2 sons
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.