The Eiffel Tower is in a poor state and riddled with rust, and although it needs repair, it's being given a cosmetic makeover for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, according to a report based on confidential leaked documents.
The wrought-iron 324-meter-high tower, built by Gustave Eiffel in the late 19th century, is among the most-visited tourist sites in the world. It was initially meant to stand for 20 years, then be dismantled.
But due to diligent maintenance, it still stands today. However, experts told French magazine Marianne that the tower needs to be completely stripped back to the metal, repaired and repainted to combat the rust and corrosion, the Guardian reported.
"If Gustave Eiffel visited the place he would have a heart attack," an unnamed manager at the tower is quoted as telling Marianne.
Eiffel suggested that the tower be painted every seven years to prevent the spread of rust, regarded as the biggest challenge to the construction's longevity.
"Paint is the essential ingredient for protecting a metallic structure and the care with which this is done is the only guarantee of its longevity," he wrote at the time the tower was developed, according to the Guardian. "The most important thing is to prevent the start of rust."
The tower is currently undergoing a repaint costing 60 million euros in preparation for the 2024 Olympics, marking the 20th time the structure has been repainted. Some 30% of the tower was supposed to be stripped and then have two new coats of paint applied.
However, there have been delays to the work due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as concerns about the presence of lead in old paint. As a result, only 5% of the tower will be treated — a job that experts consider a cosmetic facelift.
Painting over old paint is worsening the corrosion, they said via the Guardian. The tower needs to be completely stripped back to the metal, then repaired and repainted. At the rate at how things are currently going, the final result will be "lamentable," they added, according to the Guardian.
The new partial makeover risked making the state of the tower worse because it does not deal with the high lead levels or the rust, an expert told Marianne. This comes despite the fact that the original layers of paint are still solid “and continue to protect the metal in many places," the Guardian noted.
"At best it will be mostly useless, but at the very worst it will make the defects in the existing layer of paint worse and result in corrosion," the experts said.
Closing the tower for an extended period of time could result in the loss of tourist revenue, making Sete, the company that oversees the tower, hesitant to close it, the report added.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.