- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Visitors to the Capitol this week may be disappointed to find that the rotunda will not reopen Tuesday as scheduled.

The rotunda was expected to be closed for about two weeks while contractors erected safety netting to protect visitors from any falling debris during the two-year dome restoration project. It was supposed to reopen Tuesday morning, but unexpected modifications to the netting system were needed, delaying the opening, according to Justin Kieffer, spokesman for the Architect of the Capitol.

“The contractor placing the safety netting within the Capitol rotunda has not completed the installation as scheduled and continues working around the clock,” he said in a statement. “During installation of the structural supports for the safety netting system, field engineers determined modifications were required and they have been completed.”

Tours will begin using the normal route, which goes through the rotunda, on Thursday morning, he said.

“The safety of visitors, staff and members of Congress is always the Architect of the Capitol’s first priority,” he said. “The AOC regrets any inconvenience this may cause.”

Despite the delay, Mr. Kieffer said the overall dome renovation is still on schedule. The two-year, $60 million project will repair more than 1,000 cracks in the cast iron dome.