The scaffolding on the U.S. Capitol dome is now just another chapter in its history.
The Capitol’s three-year, $60 million restoration aimed at protecting and preserving the dome — its first major overhaul in more than 50 years— is officially finished. The Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers announced the end of the renovation Tuesday.
The team used “innovative technology” and “historical tradecrafts” to preserve the original dome, Ayers said in a statement. The project, which was completed under budget by its planned deadline, repaired more than 1,300 cracks in the cast iron; fixed or recast ornaments, gutters and railings; removed hazardous materials; upgraded the mechanical and electrical systems; and repainted the rotunda and dome, he said.
Turner Construction Co. and Smoot Construction Co. together served as the contractor on the project, after winning the deal Sept. 30, 2013, and starting work in November of that year.
During the project, scaffolding extended from the “dome skirt,” or base, to the bottom of the Statue of Freedom, which sits on top of the dome. The final ornament was attached Oct. 27, 2016.
The dome, which was built more than 150 years ago, was last restored in 1959 and 1960, according to the AOC.
Ever see the original dome? Flip through our gallery above for photos of its construction in 1863, the previous restoration, the cracking and breakages that led to this overhaul, and the finishing touches as the scaffolding came down. And, you can relive the past three years in less than a minute with this time-lapse video, below, and restoration overview from the AOC.