Subscribe
Safety netting lines the interior of the Capitol dome above the rotunda during the restoration project.

Safety netting lines the interior of the Capitol dome above the rotunda during the restoration project. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Safety netting lines the interior of the Capitol dome above the rotunda during the restoration project.

Safety netting lines the interior of the Capitol dome above the rotunda during the restoration project. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Capitol dome, in the earlier stages of construction of the scaffolding, in Nov. 2014.

The Capitol dome, in the earlier stages of construction of the scaffolding, in Nov. 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The U.S. Capitol has a new look, with scaffolding being added, in a pre-dawn view from across the Potomac in mid-October, 2014.

The U.S. Capitol has a new look, with scaffolding being added, in a pre-dawn view from across the Potomac in mid-October, 2014. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The scaffolding-clad Capitol dome, as seen during the Concert for Valor on the National Mall on Veterans Day 2014.

The scaffolding-clad Capitol dome, as seen during the Concert for Valor on the National Mall on Veterans Day 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The scaffolding-clad Capitol dome, in November, 2014.

The scaffolding-clad Capitol dome, in November, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Workers climb down the scaffolding near the top of the U.S. Capitol's dome on Nov. 18, 2014.

Workers climb down the scaffolding near the top of the U.S. Capitol's dome on Nov. 18, 2014. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, Capitol Dome Restoration Project Manager Joseph Abriatis and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., talk to reporters on the roof of the Capitol, Nov. 18, 2014.

Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, Capitol Dome Restoration Project Manager Joseph Abriatis and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., talk to reporters on the roof of the Capitol, Nov. 18, 2014. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The U.S. Capitol's dome, Nov. 18, 2014.

The U.S. Capitol's dome, Nov. 18, 2014. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Workers on the dome restoration project prepare to demonstrate equipment and techniques for members of hte media on the roof of the U.S. Capitol, Nov. 18, 2014.

Workers on the dome restoration project prepare to demonstrate equipment and techniques for members of hte media on the roof of the U.S. Capitol, Nov. 18, 2014. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Workers climb down the stairs amid the scaffolding near the top of the Capitol dome on Nov. 18, 2014.

Workers climb down the stairs amid the scaffolding near the top of the Capitol dome on Nov. 18, 2014. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A look at a section of the 52 miles of scaffolding pipe surrounding the Capitol dome during the restoration project.

A look at a section of the 52 miles of scaffolding pipe surrounding the Capitol dome during the restoration project. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Three pieces of ornamental work from the Capitol dome, labeled and ready for restoration, are on display for members of the media on Nov. 18, 2014.

Three pieces of ornamental work from the Capitol dome, labeled and ready for restoration, are on display for members of the media on Nov. 18, 2014. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A worker on the Capitol dome restoration project wears some of the protective gear that will be used.

A worker on the Capitol dome restoration project wears some of the protective gear that will be used. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

a worker on the Capitol dome restoration project demonstrates hte filiing down of pins to be used in the repairs to the dome.

a worker on the Capitol dome restoration project demonstrates hte filiing down of pins to be used in the repairs to the dome. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Scaffolding covers the dome of the U.S. Capitol during the restoration project.

Scaffolding covers the dome of the U.S. Capitol during the restoration project. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

With the scaffolding-covered Capitol dome in the background, some of the equipment being used in the restoration project is displayed to members of the media on Nov. 18, 2014.

With the scaffolding-covered Capitol dome in the background, some of the equipment being used in the restoration project is displayed to members of the media on Nov. 18, 2014. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

WASHINGTON — Dirty work is going on at the highest levels of government.

Atop the roof of the U.S. Capitol, in front of its apex covered in scaffolding, officials on Tuesday provided an update on a two-year restoration project that planners say will add 50 to 75 years to the life of the cast-iron dome.

Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers said workers have completed the scaffolding — 52 miles of metal piping and two miles of wood planking. It will give workers access to blast away eight layers of paint dating to its completion in 1866, as well as to repair cracks and paint it all again. Construction crews erected 25 tiers of platforms, from the bottom of the dome to the statue of freedom at the very top.

The last time a refurbishment was done was in 1959-60, Ayers noted.

In a fierce wind and temperatures in the teens, workers demonstrated the protective gear they will use to blast away and capture the dust from layers of lead paint, as well as the various techniques that will be used to repair the dome and all the architectural details attached to it. The work requiring the scaffolding will continue, snow or shine, until August 2015, with the entire project done in time for the inauguration festivities in January 2017.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., ranking member of the congressional subcommittee that oversees the architect’s office, said the $60 million restoration is a priority for him and all Americans.

Joe Abriatis, the project construction manager, at Hoeven’s prompting, noted that the project is both on budget and on schedule.

“We worked $60 million into the FY14 budget to make sure that this work is done,” Hoeven said. “And to make sure that this work is done for the next inauguration so that when the next president is sworn in, the people of America can see their Capitol and their dome and be comfortable and confident that, just like this great nation, it’s here for the long term.”

dickson.patrick@stripes.com Twitter: @StripesDC chief


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up