(WJLA) - Though the hundred thousand people who use it every day barely notice, much of Union Station is a construction zone – almost all of it up on an elaborate, enclosed scaffold.
On Tuesday, various groups involved in renovating the station invited reporters to climb to the top. There were many cracks after the earthquake, and construction workers are also re-doing the gold stenciling – last fixed during the last renovation in 1988. They are also repainting the gold leaf in the 255 octagon coffers across the ceiling.
"Everything you see up there is brand new gold," says historical architect John Bowie. "23-karat was put in and we expect that it's going to be around probably the next 75 years."
Union Station was constructed in the early 1900’s, and this renovation will restore it to its original glory.
Finally we made it to the top, 96 feet off the main floor, where a whole crew worked to secure with metal rods the six-foot-wide coffers and plaster to the structure.
Workers are calling the segments "bays," as they’re spending approximately six months on each one.
"And then everything moves to the next bay and we start the process all over again," says Bowie.
With one bay finished and four left to go, they expect this work to continue into 2016.