Historic Lincoln Memorial gets facelift for the Inauguration

January 06, 2009 |

More than 3.6 million people visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.., every year, which adds up to at least 14.4 million feet walking back and forth on the monument’s East Plaza. A renovation project is making sure these feet have a smooth place to tread.

Skanska USA Building Inc. is on schedule to complete a historic renovation of the Lincoln Memorial East Plaza in time for the January 20, 2009 swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama, and for the year-long Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial celebration.

Skanska started the $3.7 million renovation earlier last year, and expects to complete its work on January 9. Skanska employees and subcontractors are placing more than 14,000 pavers—100lb. concrete pavers that make up the plaza’s walkways—between the Lincoln Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool that leads to the Washington Monument.

The project was spearheaded by Giancarlo Bulfon, Skanska Assistant Project Manager, and his team.

“At first the project was a bit of a puzzle. We knew when we started there would be challenges to solve along the way,” Bulfon said. “We spent the first two weeks cutting the stones using every saw or machine we could think of but it just didn’t work. We couldn’t get a straight line.”

The difficulty with the project is that square pavers had to be placed in long, curving lines that are not uniform.

After some trial-and-error and much tinkering, the Skanska team created a walk-behind saw that will be used only on this project. The saw is placed on a set of rails to guide a perfect cut and carefully shape each paver to its unique curve. The solution resulted in a faster workflow and has put the project on schedule to finish early.

The Lincoln Memorial will be rededicated with a public program on May 30, 2009, and the President has been invited to give an address.

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