West Virginia cancels Capitol dome repair contract

CHARLESTON, WV (AP)- West Virginia officials have canceled a nearly $11 million contract to repair significant damage to the state Capitol dome.

The decision, announced Friday by the Department of Administration, was based on the contractor’s inability to comply with design requirements for exterior scaffolding to be constructed to complete the project, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

Spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown said the department and Wiseman Construction, of Charleston, mutually agreed to terminate the $10.93 million contract. Wiseman had determined it couldn’t comply with a requirement that exterior scaffolding not come in contact with the cladding of the Capitol dome, she said.


State officials had raised concerns the contractor’s proposed design for exterior scaffolding could potentially cause additional damage to the dome.

As part of the agreement, the state will pay Wiseman Construction $1.67 million for work completed to date, including construction of interior scaffolding that rises from the floor of the Capitol Rotunda to the top of the interior dome.

That scaffolding will stay in place once a contract is awarded to the second-lowest bidder on the project, Pullman Power, of Pittsburgh, which bid $13.52 million at the Nov. 15, 2017, bid opening.

Holley-Brown said negotiations are underway to finalize the new contract soon.

Wiseman initially began work on the two-year project in January. The project involves repairing severe water leaks and major structural problems inside the dome.

While assessing the extent of the damage, engineers also discovered another serious issue with the dome: The tensioning system — metal rods used to allow the external dome to hold up the inner dome — had failed, leaving the inner dome resting on non-load-bearing interior walls. The bid specifications were modified to include replacement of the tensioning system.

Holley-Brown said it is unclear how long the delay to change contractors will push back the project completion date, which had been set for early in 2020.

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