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Cracked By Age, Damaged By Rain, Capitol's Dome Is Set For Two-Year, $60 Million Renovation

December 28, 2013, 4:33 PM

Cracked By Age, Damaged By Rain, Capitol's Dome Is Set For Two-Year, $60 Million Renovation
WASHINGTON, D.C. -

A world-famous symbol of democracy is going under cover, as workers start a two-year, $60 million renovation of the U.S. Capitol dome.

Curved rows of scaffolds, like Saturn's rings, will encircle it next spring, enabling contractors to strip multiple layers of paint and repair more than 1,000 cracks and broken pieces.

The Capitol's crowning piece is actually two domes, one nested under the other like Russian dolls, and separated by a web of cast iron braces hidden from view.

Water has seeped through the cracks over time, and the Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers says that has caused the iron to rust.

It's the dome's first major renovation in more than 50 years and should add decades of structural integrity to it.

The dome will remain illuminated at night and partly visible through the scaffolding and paint-capturing cloths.

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