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Despite the cracks, Mr. Kieffer said the dome is structurally sound and safe for visitors and tenants. The dome was last restored in 1959 and 1960, which could cause another problem for workers this time around: lead-based paint.

“It is possible there might be several dozen coats of lead-based paint on the dome. They’ll have to clear that off,” Mr. Gugliotta said.

The joint contract for more than $40 million was awarded in September to Turner Construction Co. and Smoot Construction, with an additional $20 million for contingency costs and other projects costs included in the total budget, Mr. Kieffer said.

However, the money doesn’t matter when talking about preserving the history of the country, Mr. Gugliotta noted.

“Our buildings are very important to us, probably more so than other countries,” he said. “To me, it’s something you pay what it costs, and I don’t think anyone would begrudge the money.”