WASHINGTON, D.C. - More than 3.6 million people visit the Lincoln Memorial every year. That adds to at least 14.4 million feet walking up and back on the monument's East Plaza. And a renovation project is making sure these feet have a smooth place to tread.
Skanska USA Building Inc. is on schedule to complete an historic renovation of the Lincoln Memorial East Plaza in time for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and for the year-long Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial celebration.
Skanska started the $3.7 million renovation earlier this year. Skanska employees and subcontractors are placing more than 14,000 pavers - 100-pound concrete pavers that makeup the plaza's walkways - between the Lincoln Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool that leads to the Washington Monument.
Completion of the project on-time required the clever problem-solving abilities and dedication of Giancarlo Bulfon, Skanska Assistant Project Manager, and his team.
"At first the project was a bit of a puzzle. We knew when we started there would be challenges to solve along the way," Bulfon said. "We spent the first two weeks cutting the stones using every saw or machine we could think of but it just didn't work. We couldn't get a straight line."
The difficulty with the project is that square pavers had to be placed in long, curving lines that are not uniform.
After some trial-and-error and much tinkering, the Skanska team created a walk-behind saw that will be used only on this project. The saw is placed on a set of rails to guide a perfect cut and carefully shape each paver to its unique curve. The solution resulted in a faster workflow and has put the project on schedule to finish early.
The Lincoln Memorial will be rededicated with a public program on May 30,2009. The President has been invited to give an address. Additionally, Skanska's work will be complete in time for the January 20, 2009 Presidential inauguration.