Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Capitol Dome will see scaffolding this coming spring. Capitol Architect Stephen Ayers spoke Thursday and said that's when the restoration for the dome will begin.
Ayers detailed the project and said there are currently almost 1,300 cracks on the dome. Ayers said water leakage is the main culprit; rusting the iron and causing it to deteriorate.
"It's important to know that these cracks and missing pieces, many of those you see before you today, are water leaks into the dome. And water, of course, and cast iron don't work well together. And that process of water incursion and cast iron just continues to rust and rust and rust and make conditions worse. So with nearly 1,300 cracks and we see the pace of cracking and deterioration accelerating, we thought it was important now after 50 years to intervene and do some preservation work on the dome," Ayers said.
But he said, structurally the dome is still sound.
Once the scaffolding is erected, workers will remove the lead paint on the outside of the dome, then repair the iron and then apply a protective coating to the dome.
Ayers also said most of the work on the dome will be done at night, as it's a working building during the day.