Capitol Dome to Be Shrouded in Scaffolding During $60 Million Repair Project

Water leak threatens damage to paintings, frescoes in rotunda

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    The cracked Capitol dome will undergo a two-year repair project to end water leaks and repair more than 1,000 cracks and rust spots on the 150-year-old cast iron dome.

    Experts announced new details on the two-year, $60 million repair project on the cracked Capitol dome Thursday morning.

    More than 1,000 cracks and rust spots dot the 150-year-old cast iron dome, said Stephen Ayers, the architect of the Capitol, although they're not affecting the structural integrity of the landmark.

    "It is in great structural condition," Ayers said. "It's not in any way unsafe at all.... It's this water leak that's the real problem. Water can get in, and it causes continued rust, but also water can get in and damage the beautiful frescoes and paintings that are in the rotunda."

    The restoration project will give the dome a different look. Much like the Washington Monument, which needed repairs after 2011's earthquake, it will be shrouded in scaffolding.

    A canopy will also be installed in the rotunda to protect visitors.

    Most work will be done at night and on weekends to reduce the impact on business at the Capitol.

    This is the first major renovation since 1960. Age and weather caused the cracks and deficiencies, experts said.

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