Rings of scaffolding will start to rise this spring around the cast-iron dome of the U.S. Capitol in Washington as part of a $60 million renovation project to repair more than 1,300 cracks. In addition to the scaffolding, a work area will be erected on the roof of the building, while the cracks are repaired with a lock and stitch technique. Lead paint will be removed from the structure.
The leaky, cast-iron dome is "like having a bridge as the roof of your building," said Kevin Hildebrand, head of the Architect of the Capitol’s Architecture Division. If constructed today, the iconic structure would probably be built with steel and glass, Hildebrand said, not 8.9 million pounds of cast iron. The entire project should be wrapped up within two years, he predicted, “certainly before the next presidential inauguration.”