The U.S. Capitol dome will undergo an intricate , two-year, $59 million renovation to repair more than 1,000 cracks and other damage, according to Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers.
The cast-iron dome, an architectural icon, is more than 150 years old and has not been completely restored since 1959-1960.
It has long symbolized American democracy.
"From a distance the dome looks magnificent, thanks to the hard work of our employees," Ayers noted. "On closer look, under the paint, age and weather have taken [their] toll."
The work is intended to restore the dome to its original splendor.
Work is to begin in November and will be done by a private contractor, according to The Washington Post
. Much of it will be done during off-hours so that congressional business, events, and public tours can continue uninterrupted.
During the project, the dome will be covered in scaffolding, running from the base of the Statue of Freedom down to the base of the dome. Scaffold towers and scaffold bridging will be built on the west side of the Capitol to help move materials to the work areas, said Ayers
Anyone walking in the interior of the Capitol Rotunda will notice a white canopy system in the shape of a doughnut to protect the public from falling objects.
"The configuration allows the Apotheosis of Washington, in the eye of the Rotunda, to be seen throughout the restoration process," said Ayers.
A covered walkway through the Rotunda will be required both when the canopy system is installed at the start of the project and removed at the end.
Dec. 2 marks the 150th anniversary of the completion of the dome, which was finished in 1863, during the Civil War, when the final section of the Statue of Freedom was lifted to the top, according to the Post.
Another well-known landmark in the nation's capital, the Washington Monument, also is undergoing repair.
It was damaged in August 2011 during a 5.8 magnitude earthquake.
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