By Sam Walker on April 23, 2012
Contractors have installed a construction fence boundary, secured a protective “bubble wrap” of the Lantern Room and laid logging mat materials to protect the surrounding grounds as work begins, According to a National Park Service Outer Banks Group news release,
Work stopped last spring at the 156-foot tall beacon north of Oregon Inlet built in 1872 after significant new structural integrity issues were found in many of the main support beams under the balcony.According to the news release, the additional repairs needed were too costly to finish in the original restoration project.
Funding requests were approved to complete the restoration work this fiscal year, with a $1.89 million contract awarded earlier this year to United Builders Group, LLC of New Bern.
The work will include restoring deteriorated metal, components on the lantern level including support beams, masonry and railing, replacing galley cornice segments, painting interior and exterior masonry, replacing windows and glass on lantern level, repairing the oil house marble floor and roof and installing new windows, painting all newly installed metals and wood, installing fire suppression system and rehabilitating electrical power, plus installing stair strengtheners.
The new restoration project began in late March and is expected be completed in 2013.
A protective shroud placed around the top of the lighthouse when the original restoration work stopped was torn away by Hurricane Irene in August.
National Park Service Outer Banks Group Deputy Superintendent Darrell Echols said in December that the lantern room was built to handle the elements, and the lighthouse was not being damaged from the exposure.
“There are tracks in the floor designed to move water out if it gets inside,” Echols said. ”No water is entering the tower whatsoever.”
Flooding during the storm entered the lightkeepers building, which now hosts a small museum and bookstore.
The floors in the building have been refinished, while temporary descriptive exhibits have replaced those damaged by the flood waters, which reached to the top of the baseboards according to an on-site interpreter.
The electric powered beacon, visible from up to 18 miles away was extinguished in September 2009.
The priceless Fresnel lens was removed before renovations began and remains in a secure location away from the Bodie Island Light Station.