The dome of the U.S. Capitol will remained covered with scaffolding for approximately the next two years while it undergoes work to repair the roughly 1,000 cracks in it.

The restoration work, which has been budgeted at up to $60 million, is scheduled to begin next month.

Constructed 150 years ago, the dome has gone without any renovation work for more than half a century, with the last time any major repairs were made on it being in 1959 and 1960, and since that time it has been accumulating assorted minor damage.

"From a distance the dome looks magnificent, thanks to the hard work of our employees," Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers said.

"On closer look, under the paint, age and weather have taken (their) toll and the AOC needs to make repairs to preserve the dome," he said.

"For the next two years, the Capitol dome may not look great aesthetically, but please know that when the scaffold is removed, the dome will be even more splendid than before," Ayers said.

With the Washington Monument having been closed two years ago after it suffered damage in the August 2011 earthquake, when work begins on the Capitol dome Washington will have two of its most emblematic and visible monuments covered with scaffolding. EFE