The Bulletin

Part of the Virginia Capitol is closing for construction work

By: - April 25, 2022 12:55 pm

Parts of Virginia’s Capitol Square complex have been turned into a construction site as the state continues work on a tunnel connecting the Capitol to the new General Assembly Building. (Photo by Graham Moomaw)

The visitors center at the Virginia Capitol will be closed for most of the year as the state builds an underground tunnel and continues waterproofing work at the historic building.

The closure will take effect May 2, according to state officials, and is expected to last through “at least” December.

The tunnel will eventually connect the underground visitors center, which opened in 2007, to the new General Assembly Building being constructed on the northwestern corner of Capitol Square. The new building is expected to open later this year, according to the state’s Department of General Services, but the tunnel won’t be finished until 2023.

The Thomas Jefferson-designed Capitol building will remain open to the public, but the closure will affect the Capitol complex’s café, gift shop, exhibit area, press room and two meeting rooms.

“Closing the Capitol’s underground extension is critical to ensure everyone’s safety as we complete these important projects,” DGS Director Joe Damico said in a news release.

The waterproofing work will require the temporary removal of steps and pavers near the Capitol’s iconic south portico, a frequent backdrop for political rallies and speeches.

Visitors to the Capitol must use the building’s west entrance during the closure, according to DGS. New fencing will go up on May 9, officials said, blocking the east side of the Capitol and the Bank Street visitor entrance.

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Graham Moomaw
Graham Moomaw

A veteran Virginia politics reporter, Graham grew up in Hillsville and Lynchburg, graduating from James Madison University and earning a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Before joining the Mercury in 2019, he spent six years at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, most of that time covering the governor's office, the General Assembly and state politics. He also covered city hall and politics at The Daily Progress in Charlottesville. Contact him at [email protected]