CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The scope of the work it takes just to get things ready for contractors to repair the inside of the state capitol dome and its tensioning system is beginning to come into focus.
Crews will be winding down work on the construction of what’s called a protection area in the next two weeks, according to state Secretary of Administration John Myers.
“They had to start in the basement. They built a frame and drywall protective layer around that. They’ve moved to the first floor and have built the framing and the floor to protect the floor,” Myers said.
The goal of the protection area is to protect those who will be using the capitol during the two-year construction project and to the protect the capitol itself.
Large scaffolding from the basement to the dome will then be built. Myers expects that to be done by mid to late-spring. There will also be some scaffolding built on the outside.
Wiseman Construction Inc., is being paid roughly $10.9 million to fix a problem that has several layers.
The issue became apparent several months ago. Pipes designed to catch water from the outer dome have deteriorated and caused damage to the interior Rotunda. Some of the damage is visible and some is not. It’s a safety issue, state officials have said.
A cabling system that enables the outer dome to hold up the inner dome through tension has weakened over the years and needs to be replaced, state officials have said. The tensioning system was last replaced about 20 years ago.
Myers said there’s really no rushing this work.
“It will be a slow process to do those repairs and build that back,” he said. “We’re trying to keep the historical nature of the capitol intact as we do the work.”
He said ignoring the problem is not an option.
“We need to take care of this problem now before it magnifies into something that will cost us $20 million to fix instead of $10 million,” he said.