The visitors center at the Virginia Capitol will be closed for most of the year as the state builds an underground tunnel and continues waterproofing work at the historic building.
The closure will take effect May 2, according to state officials, and is expected to last through “at least” December.
The tunnel will eventually connect the underground visitors center, which opened in 2007, to the new General Assembly Building being constructed on the northwestern corner of Capitol Square. The new building is expected to open later this year, according to the state’s Department of General Services, but the tunnel won’t be finished until 2023.
The Thomas Jefferson-designed Capitol building will remain open to the public, but the closure will affect the Capitol complex’s café, gift shop, exhibit area, press room, and two meeting rooms.
“Closing the Capitol’s underground extension is critical to ensure everyone’s safety as we complete these important projects,” DGS Director Joe Damico said in a news release.
The waterproofing work will require the temporary removal of steps and pavers near the Capitol’s iconic south portico, a frequent backdrop for political rallies and speeches.
Visitors to the Capitol must use the building’s west entrance during the closure, according to DGS. New fencing will go up on May 9, officials said, blocking the east side of the Capitol and the Bank Street visitor entrance.
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