Capitol Rotunda closes for repairs

With the statue of George Washington in the foreground, scaffolding begins to rise in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in preparation for a multi-year project to repair the dome that has more than 1,000 cracks and deficiencies, in Washington, Monday, April 7, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — Tourists and residents hoping to see the Capitol building’s famous Rotunda may be disappointed this month. The iconic interior is closed through April 28.

As part of ongoing restoration work on the Capitol’s cast iron dome, workers will be installing safety netting.

“This netting will ensure the safety of all who enter the Capitol for the duration of the two-year project allowing the Rotunda to be accessible for the duration of the project after it is installed,” according to the U.S. Capitol Dome Restoration information website from the Architect of the Capitol.

The last time the exterior of the Dome received an overhaul was in 1959-1960.

The Architect of the Capitol reports: “This project is a critical step for stopping the current level of deterioration in the Dome’s cast iron as well as ensuring the protection of the interior of the Dome and Rotunda. … As part of its comprehensive project planning process, the AOC is undertaking a similar renovation. The restoration project includes removal of old paint, repairs to the cast iron and repainting.”

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