Capitol Dome Scaffolding Starts Coming Down

Scaffolding that's part of the Capitol Dome Restoration Project has started coming down, a turning point in the multi-million dollar project. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The top portion of the scaffolding covering the Capitol Dome should be removed by the end of the month as construction wraps up on one of the most iconic government buildings in the country, Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers said Tuesday.  

The Dome will look brighter and more detailed than ever thanks to the removal of 13 layers of lead paint, Ayers testified at a hearing of the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee.  

"I'm really excited about taking the scaffold down and sort of unveiling it for the country, if not the world to see," Ayers said.  "There's a renewed sense of beauty, and a renewed sense of the incredible detail that went into building this dome."  

The rest of the work, including restoration to the interior of the rotunda, will be completed before the 2017 presidential inauguration, Ayers said. The project, the most visible of multiple construction projects on the Hill scheduled for completion in 2016, is on track to come in under its $126 million budget.  

The Rotunda has been repainted five times since the 1860s, he said. This time, a color scheme from the 1970s will be re-coated with a more historically accurate palette, he said.  

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the panel's top Democrat and someone who has helped steer the project for years, said she was thrilled to see the project come to fruition.  

"I’m looking forward to the reveal, but also it’s just really amazing to be able to be part of the stewardship of the greatest symbol of the most significant democracy in the world," she said.

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