The rebuilt iron dome of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. is officially unveiled, after a $60 million dollar refurbishment that removed rusty gutters and repaired more than 1,300 cracks. Diane Hodges reports.
For more than two years, the dome of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. looked like this. But now the scaffolding is gone and the Dome can be seen in all its splendor, as its 60 million dollar restoration project is over. Workers replaced gutters, some so rusty that they were completed clogged... And repaired some 13-hundred cracks that had allowed water to leak through the painted ceiling. Along the way, they learned a lot, according to architect Stephen Ayers. (SOUNDBITE) (English) STEPHEN AYERS, SAYING: "We discovered during studies, that cast iron can't be welded..." So workers had to drill holes in the iron plates and pull the edges together. They also learned how the ornaments that top the columns that surround the dome were put together. "It wasn't until after we removed 12 layers of paint, that we discovered these ornaments are made up of multiple castings, that range anywhere from 2 parts to 18 parts." The Dome was constructed during the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln viewed it as a symbol of the nation's endurance during the conflict. Now, its restoration is completed as the nation finishes a divisive presidential election season. And just in time for inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.