• U.S. Capitol dome gleams after years of careful restoration

    By: Lacey Herbert , Cox Media Group Washington News Bureau

    Updated:
    The first restoration in over half a century of the Capitol dome is now complete with weeks to spare.
     
    Construction took three years, $60 million, innovative technology and attention to historical detail.
     
    The project began in 2014 with the goal to finish in time for Inauguration Day. 
     
    “We successfully met our deadline and did so under budget,” Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers said in a statement.
     
    The Capitol dates back to the Civil War.
     
    Congressional officials thought it was in need of a facelift.
     
    Scaffolding engulfed the dome for the past few years. 
     
    “The dome was in dire need of repair and with the help and leadership of Congress we repaired more than 1,300 cracks and deficiencies in the cast iron,” Ayers said.
     
    Years of rain, sleet, snow, and sun damaged the cast iron dome.
     
    Water infiltrated the building through pinholes in the Statue of Freedom causing rust and harming the paint coating.
     
    It was important to architects to preserve the history of the building.
     
    “We did a significant paint analysis that took hundreds of chips of paint from all the layers to identify what the original colors were on the rotunda,” Capitol tour guide Joe Abriatis said. 
     
    The dome had been painted slightly different colors four times over the years.
     
    Painters coated the dome in its original eggshell shade.
     
    The dome also has upgraded electrical and mechanical systems. 
     
    President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn-in beneath the refurbished dome during the Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.
     

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