By Sam Walker on March 27, 2013The long-delayed restoration of the Bodie Island Lighthouse is nearing completion, as workers began last week carefully re-installing the priceless Fresnel lens at the top of the lighthouse north of Oregon Inlet.
The electric beacon visible from up to 18 miles away was extinguished in September 2009 when the project started.
The restoration was stopped in spring 2011 at the 156-foot tall beacon after significant new structural integrity issues were found in many of the main support beams under the balcony.
The additional repairs were too costly to finish in the original restoration project.
Funding requests were approved to complete the restoration work starting in March 2012, with a $1.89 million contract awarded to United Builders Group of New Bern.
The work included 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 a fire suppression system and rehabilitating electrical power, plus installing stair strengtheners.
Plans are to open the lighthouse for public climbing on April 19, and the date for the relighting of the lighthouse is April 18.
“A limited number of park ranger guided tours will be conducted daily offering the park visitor a memorable, unique, and personal experience of the history of this 1871 historic structure as well as a pristine view of the surrounding lands from the top balcony,” a National Park Service statement said.
A proposal announced earlier this year would set the price for the tour at $8 per person.