- Title: Years-long rehab of towering U.S. Capitol dome completed
- Date: 15th November 2016
- Summary: WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES (RECENT - NOVEMBER 08, 2016) (REUTERS - BROADCASTERS: NONE DIGITAL: NONE) VARIOUS OF U.S. CAPITOL EXTERIORS
- Embargoed: 30th November 2016 20:30
- Keywords: The Capitol Dome architect Stephen Ayers Congress dome captiol
- Location: WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Arts/Culture/Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA00158K4EVB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The rebuilt cast-iron dome of the U.S. Capitol, a soaring symbol of national unity since the 19th century, was formally completed on Tuesday (November 15) after a $60 million overhaul that included repairing rust-choked gutters and more than 1,300 cracks.
The project, led by architect Stephen Ayers, was the first complete rehabilitation of the 288-feet-tall (88-meter-tall) Civil War-era dome since 1960. It was finished in time for the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump on Jan. 20.
The structure tops the home of the U.S. Congress and can be seen throughout the capital. The Capitol is a major tourist site, drawing thousands of visitors daily.
When work began in January 2014, the dome was suffering from water leaks, cracks and corrosion so bad that rain gutters were clogged with rust chips. Up to 13 layers of lead-based paint were removed and 666 feet (203 m) of cracks were repaired.
"All the lead-based paint from the interior coffer dome was removed using a sponge-jetting process," said Joe Abriatis, who worked with Ayers on the Restoration Dome Project. "We documented the historical paint colors before paint removal, and the coffer come was repainted to historic, appropriate colors."
Repainting required a total of 1,215 gallons (4,600 liters) of paint, with the top of three coats in the color "Dome White."
The project relied on sophisticated software to keep track of repairs and used 3-D modeling to cast replacement parts. The structure is believed to be the biggest cast-iron dome in the world, he said.
The dome was completed during 1861-65 Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln viewed its construction as a symbol of the nation's endurance during the conflict, the bloodiest in U.S. history.
According to Ayers, the work, which was funded by Congress, uncovered traces of the original construction process. Pieces of iron were stamped with the name of supervising engineer Montgomery Meigs, a crowbar from the era turned up, and a name - Al Ports - was found written in plaster, he said.
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