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Crews Remove Asbestos From East Front

Construction workers removed asbestos from the Capitol’s East Front over the weekend without incident.

On Saturday and Sunday, crews removed asbestos from a first-floor vestibule near the law library and Memorial doors, CVC spokesman Tom Fontana said. As a result, they closed a nearby stairwell and notified offices in the vicinity.

The stairwell serves as an emergency exit for the House leadership offices of Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). It also serves the third-floor House Periodical Press Gallery.

The work — which was completed on the House side on Saturday and the Senate side on Sunday — did not interfere with any offices’ regular operations, Fontana said.

All access was restored by Monday morning, he added.

As part of the Capitol Visitor Center construction, much of the East Front has been emptied while that section is modified to connect the existing structure to the new addition now under development.

Crews have periodically removed asbestos from the East Front since work began on it a few weeks ago. The marble facade was added between 1958 and 1962 when asbestos “was the fire retardant of choice,” Fontana explained.

“It’s not a problem, it’s just something you gotta do” when renovating buildings from that period, he said.

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