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Scaffolding To Cover U.S. Capitol Dome During Two-Year Restoration

This rendering shows what the U.S. Capitol dome will look like when all the scaffolding is installed.
Architect of the Capitol
This rendering shows what the U.S. Capitol dome will look like when all the scaffolding is installed.

Soon it won't only be the Washington Monument that's covered in scaffolding.

Starting in November, a two-year, $60 million restoration project will conceal the U.S. Capitol behind scaffolding, allowing workers to repair up to 1,000 cracks and other deficiencies in the iconic cast iron dome.

According to the Architect of the Capitol, the last full overhaul of the dome took place in 1959-60, and since then pin-size holes and cracks have allowed water to seep into the building.

"[D]ecorative elements that give the Capitol Dome its unique character are rusting, and in some cases falling from the structure," explains the Architect of the Capitol. "If these repairs are not made, the artwork in the Rotunda, including the Apotheosis of Washington and the Frieze of American History, are at great risk of damage due to water leaks."

Over the course of the next two years, workers will restore the historic cast-iron elements, weatherproof the exterior, replace broken windows, and remove hazardous materials.

The restoration work won't only affect the exterior of the dome: a white canopy system in the shape of a doughnut will be placed in the interior of the Capitol Rotunda.

WAMU 88.5

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