including six that went all the way through the marble panels in the pyramidion,
the pyramid that sits atop the monument. Those cracks were large enough to let
daylight shine through. With the major damage documented, the National Park
Service put the repair phase out to bid in June 2012.
Perini Management Services had experience on its side. Its parent company,
Tutor Perini Corporation, was the prime contractor for the construction of
the Ronald Reagan Building, the largest federal building in Washington, D.C.
For the monument project, Perini submitted a thorough proposal outlining
its project approach, the team it would bring together, project requirements, a
scaffolding plan and an overview of how it would implement the repairs with an
emphasis on its safety program.
In September 2012, the National Park Service awarded the contract to
Perini—giving it US$9.6 million for the repairs, out of the total project budget
of US$15 million, and a deadline of spring 2014.
DO NO HARM
Throughout the project, the team had an abiding principle: “We would do no
harm,” Mr. Collie says. That meant fixing the damaged stone without causing
collateral damage to the original 150-year-old stone, which is weathered and, in
some places, delicate.
“Everything was of a historic nature and had to be treated with special attention
and care so we would not damage the parent stone,” he says. “We had to minimize
the material we had to remove of the parent stone to repair or replace.”
This sensitive work “took a higher level of expertise and skill from the
masons”—and from the entire team, Mr. Collie says. That’s why the project
WHILE THE DAMAGE WAS ALMOST ALL COSMETIC RATHER THAN
STRUCTURAL, THE DIFFICULT-ACCESS TEAM DOCUMENTED OVER
150 CRACKS ON THE MONUMENT’S EXTERIOR, INCLUDING SIX
THAT WENT ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE MARBLE PANELS IN THE
PYRAMIDION, THE PYRAMID THAT SITS ATOP THE MONUMENT.
was of a historic
nature and had
to be treated
care so we would
not damage the
The observation level
A photo taken from a
helicopter shows cracks at
the top of the monument.