Scott: In Washington, D.C. there are tons of iconic structures. And one of them is the famous dome of the Capitol Building. And this month it marked its 150th anniversary. But pretty soon you won’t be seeing it for a while. And Tom Hanson tells us why.
Tom: From far away, it is stunning. But if you take a closer look at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., you will see cracks, corrosion and rust in more than 1,000 spots, which has prompted plans for the iconic building to undergo a facelift. And this is what it will look like with the tiered scaffolding that will encase the dome for about two years as contractors fully repair and repaint it for the first time since 1960.
The 2 million people who visit Capitol Hill each year will find the historic mural Rotunda inside the dome covered in a white canopy shaped kind of like a doughnut, similar to this one that went up in 1999 so workers could repaint the ceiling.
If two years sounds like a long time to repair the dome, that is because crews are mainly working on nights and weekends to avoid interfering with Congress.
The dome was built of cast iron over 11 years all through the Civil War, partially with slave labor. It replaced an older wood and copper dome that was deemed too small as Congress and the nation grew. The total cost to construct the 288-foot structure was $1 million. The renovation, we are told, will cost $60 million.
Soon the Capitol Dome will be hidden from the Washington’s iconic skyline, but just for a couple of years.
Tom Hanson, Channel One News.