18 months into renovation, a scaffolded Jefferson Memorial, commanding the preeminent position overlooking the tidal basin, remains under construction for a cleansing and roof restoration. Expected to last 15 months when initiated, the monumental renovation is now expected to go through February of 2021. A leaky and moldy roof lead to the decision by the National Park Service to hire Grunley Construction to replace two lower layers of the roof beneath the dome and clean the black biofilm (algae, fungi and bacteria) that has accumulated on the marble exterior. The entirety of the monument's exterior will be cleaned by laser, a new waterproof subsurface will be installed, and the front portico entry will be lifted and have its waterproofing replaced as well, and missing coffers and beams in the portico will get replacements, and all stone surfaces will be re-grouted and cleaned, keeping Mr. Jefferson dry.
As to the extended renovation time, a park service spokesman says "a variety" of factors contributed to the delay; "Covid didn't help." The memorial is one of the most photographed places in Washington DC thanks to its epicentral position on the tidal basin surrounded the city's venerated cherry trees. And while work on the monument may be nearing an end, a larger water problem looms: the land on which the Jefferson sits is sinking, and rising sea levels don't help. But that is a more protracted problem, and the Trust for the National Mall is leading the charge to think through some solutions, though easy answers seem elusive.
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