(S.D.)- Mount Rushmore Open As Construction Begins
Keystone, SD– Major construction will begin after the Independence Day holiday week. Scull Construction Services Inc. from Rapid City South Dakota has been selected as the contractor to address deferred maintenance projects at Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
While the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center and the amphitheater are not open due to construction, the Grand View Terrace, Avenue of Flags, Sculptor's Studio, Information Center, Mount Rushmore Bookstores, self-guided audio tours, Carver's Cafe and gift shop will all be open through July 8 for visitors celebrating the July 4th holiday. Ranger programs will be offered daily every half hour from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm in the newly restored Sculptor's Studio. An evening program with a ranger talk, veteran recognition, national anthem and lighting of the sculpture will begin at 9 pm. Visitors are encouraged to explore the surrounding communities to enjoy July 4th fireworks activities. Fireworks will not be held at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in 2019.
After Independence week, extensive construction will begin eliminating access to the Grand View Terrace and the Avenue of Flags. During the next two years, multiple visitor enhancement projects will address deferred maintenance, visitor safety, and accessibility while improving operational and energy efficiency. Beginning the second week of July, rehabilitation will be initiated for the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center and the plaza paver walkway system. Repairs will address water intrusion along the exterior walls and improve drainage. Visitor center installation will include roof replacement, an enhanced waterproofing system and new stairwells. Interior visitor center work will consist of new elevators, upgraded plumbing, and improved heating, ventilating and cooling systems.
Also scheduled for summer construction is replacement of the plaza paver walkway system from the new visitor center roof down the Avenue of Flags. The Avenue of Flags will be widened and existing columns removed. All flags with their state information will return in a pattern parallel to the walkway. Changes will improve visitor traffic flow, enhance accessibility, improve egress and provide clearer views of the sculpture.
The second phase will focus on the plaza paver walkway system from the Avenue of Flags to the parking garage. Replacement of the pavers will reduce a high annual corrective maintenance cost caused by the freeze thaw cycle. Anticipated completion date for all projects is late 2020.
Throughout the rehabilitation process the Carver's Cafe, gift shop, and Mount Rushmore Bookstores facilities will be open. Visit the park Information Center or check the park website www.nps.gov/moru for additional information as work progresses.
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