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Intensive care for a damaged dome

Inside the U.S. Capitol dome’s restoration

Inside the U.S. Capitol dome’s restoration

Intensive care
for a damaged dome

Scaffolding on the U.S. Capitol dome is complete and extensive repairs are underway on the 1,300 or so cracks, leaks and patches of corrosion dotting the cast-iron structure that has crowned the Capitol since the Civil War. The 52 miles of scaffolding marks a major milestone in the multi-year, nearly $60 million project to repair the dome's exterior. The overall project is expected to be finished in time for the 2017 presidential inauguration.

For a sense of scale, the Capitol building reaches 288 feet, just more than half the height of the Washington Monument.

555 feet Washington Monument
453 feet St. Peter’s Basilica
288 feet U.S. Capitol building

SOURCES: Eugene Poole, project manager for the Architect of the Capitol; Carlos Elias, superintendent of the Capitol building; Gary J. Reed of Lock-N-Stitch; John Allen of Allen Architectural Metals; Thomas McGonegal of Safway Services. NOTE: A previous version of this graphic reported inconsistent dates for the closing of the Rotunda.

GRAPHIC: Bonnie Berkowitz, Alberto Cuadra, Sohail Al-Jamea, Katie Park and Kevin Schaul. Published April 16, 2014. Updated November 18, 2014.

Intensive care for a damaged dome

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