Scaffolding has started to be added around the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. CHNS photo.

Scaffolding has started to be added around the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in preparation for the extensive interior and exterior restoration work to come.

In the next several months, the full tower of scaffolding will be constructed, (similar to the scaffolding built during the Bodie Island Lighthouse Project in the early 2010s), which will be visible from miles away.

“This week, a crane arrived on site to aid in the ongoing assembly of scaffolding,” stated the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS) in an online update. “The four support tower legs that hold up the main scaffolding infrastructure are currently being assembled to serve as the foundation base. It will reach the second level of the lighthouse where the next 25 deck levels of scaffolding will sit.”

“The scaffolding is engineered to withstand the dynamic loads and elements at Cape Hatteras and will essentially be a standalone structure.”

There will be many changes ahead as the years-long project to restore the lighthouse and the surrounding grounds enters a highly-active phase.

CHNS photo.

A punch list of work that will be performed in the next 18 months includes the following:

  • Fresnel Lens replica – During the project, the current spotlight/beacon will be replaced with a replica of a first-order Fresnel lens. The LED lens will include a fabricated pedestal, working clockwork, and a replica counterweight system.
  • Temporary light installation – While the replica lighthouse is being built, a temporary light will be installed sometime in the summer of 2024. There will likely be two periods where the lighthouse goes dark for several weeks (and up to two months) while the beacons are switched.
  • Repainting – The exterior and interior of the Lighthouse will have new, durable paint applied.
  • Restoring the ironwork – Over the last 150 years, the salt air has greatly impacted the intricate ironwork of the lighthouse. This is most noticeable in the lantern room, on the watch deck, in the window structures, and on the stairs. The restoration project will repair the iron where possible, and provide for accurate recasting where ironwork has to be replaced.
  • Restoring missing and defining features – Window pediments (ornamental structures above the windows) are no longer present, although there are marks of where these fixtures used to be located. These will be restored, along with a replica of the metal ornamental fence surrounding the lighthouse.
  • Landscape enhancements – This project will improve pedestrian flow on the surrounding grounds by creating and expanding walkways to seven feet wide, improving viewsheds, and providing expanded historical interpretation along the paths. The defining fence along the principal and double keepers’ quarters will also be restored, and the 36 Keepers’ Stones, (which were previously stationed at Old Lighthouse Beach in Buxton), will be relocated along the path to allow for better interpretation and enjoyment.
NPS image.

What to expect in the months ahead

  • The lighthouse will go dark for a period of time twice in the months to come. The first time will be to replace the current beacon with a temporary light that complies with U.S. Coast Guard regulations, and the second time will be for the installation of a new replica of the original Fresnel lens.
  • The lighthouse site will remain open to the public for the duration of the project, although there will be marked-off areas on the grounds where construction activities are ongoing.
  • The lighthouse will NOT be open for climbing in the summer of 2024, but will hopefully reopen for the 2025 summertime season. Once the lighthouse does open for climbing, tickets will only be available electronically, similar to the current Bodie Island Lighthouse ticket-purchasing sys
  • In the next several months, the full tower of scaffolding will be built around the lighthouse, (similar to the scaffolding built during the Bodie Island Lighthouse Project in the early 2010s), which will be visible from miles away.

For more information:

The public can keep tabs on the progress and details of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse restoration project on the CHNS website.

The post Scaffolding assembly begins at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse appeared first on Island Free Press.

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Credit: Original content published here.

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