- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Capitol rotunda to reopen with ‘pillow-top mattress’ protecting visitors
Question of the Day
The Capitol rotunda will open to the public Thursday, complete with 6,000 pounds of safety netting installed over the last two weeks to protect visitors and staff from falling debris during dome renovations.
Visitors can still see the Apotheosis of Washington and the Frieze of American History around the large doughnut-shaped netting that resembles a pillow-top mattress.
Other artwork and statues in the rotunda are visible, but still in scaffolding, which will be removed over the next few weeks, as will protective pieces of wood on the floor, according to Stephen Ayers, architect of the Capitol.
The installation of the protective netting is one of the first steps in a two-year restoration project that will fix more than 1,000 cracks in the Capitol dome. Mr. Ayers said the fixes are crucial to protect the artwork inside and the iconic dome itself from water damage.
The netting system is suspended from the ceiling with large arms that connect to the outer dome.
It’s made of five layers, each with a different job. The second layer is strong enough to catch a person, while the fourth layer is made of a much finer mesh and ensures no dust makes it to the floor. All together, the netting can support a 500-pound object, Mr. Ayers said.
Though some construction and scaffolding can be seen along the West Front, visitors will start to see the bulk of scaffolding on the dome itself by the end of May, according to Kristy Long, deputy Capitol superintendent.
While other construction in the Capitol, like the Capitol Visitors Center, was drastically over schedule and over budget, the dome renovation is up against a firm deadline: Inauguration 2017. Mr. Ayers said they have allowed the project plenty of extra time to ensure the Capitol is ready by September 2016, when preparations for the January inauguration begin.
“We have plenty of contingency built into the schedule and we’re confident we’ll make that date,” Mr. Ayers said.
The rotunda was originally scheduled to open Tuesday, but was delayed due to unforeseen modifications on the netting system. Justin Kieffer, a spokesman for the architect of the Capitol, said the project is still on schedule.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Jacqueline Klimas covers Capitol Hill for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Senate bill quadruples fines for colleges that stay silent on sexual assault
- Rep. Jeff Miller: 'Ain't no leash for VA'
- House passes VA reform compromise
- Newly confirmed VA chief greeted with lawsuit over military sex assault treatment
Latest Blog Entries
- Miss. GOP chair: Huckabee distracting from GOP's reasonable pro-life stance
- Commerce Secretary 'optimistic' about U.S.'s economic standing worldwide
- Less than half of registered voters would re-elect their congressman, poll finds
- Half of registered voters in Va. would re-elect Sen. Mark Warner
- 2013 was second most polarizing year of Obama's presidency
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors