Restoration work begins on Capitol dome

The restoration work of the Capitol dome skirt — the lower level of the cast-iron structure — will include repairing historic ironwork, sandstone and brick masonry, according to the release. Old paint will be removed from the interior and exterior, and the area will be repainted.

This summer, the AOC awarded private construction firm Gilbane Building Co. a $10.5 million contract to repair the dome skirt. The company also served as the construction manger for the Capitol Visitor Center project.

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Work has already been ongoing for several months to prepare for the restoration, Ayers said.

“Currently, a large scaffold tower is in place on the West Front Grounds,” he said. “A second scaffold tower will soon be erected at the terrace level, and will connect with the lower tower with a bridge that will be used to move materials to the skirt level.

“The scaffolding installed around the dome’s skirt will be covered with a white scrim to allow it to blend in with the building’s exterior. The majority of the work will be done at night and on weekends to ensure minimal disruption to Congressional business, events, and public tours.”

Constructed during the Civil War, the cast-iron dome requires regular maintenance. It was last serviced in the summer of 2010, when it was sealed and painted to provide a protective coating.

The AOC plans to have restoration work on the dome skirt completed by fall of 2012 to accommodate preparations for the 2013 presidential inaugural, according to the release.