Saturday, September 15, 2012
White House Big Dig Remains A Mystery As Construction Wraps Up.
White House Big Dig Remains A Mystery As Construction Wraps Up.(HP).WASHINGTON -- The White House Big Dig is finally wrapping up, but the Big Reveal is proving to be a pretty big letdown.
After nearly two years and $86 million worth of noisy and disruptive construction, the West Wing has emerged from its visual seclusion remarkably unchanged. And deep underground, whatever has been built there remains shrouded in mystery.
Plus, if you ask what the next phase is in this massive, four-year project, the official answer is "TBD" – to be determined.
The construction project – officially a long overdue upgrade of White House utilities – began in September 2010 with the excavation of a huge, multistory pit in front of the West Wing, wrapping around to include West Executive Avenue, the street that separates the White House from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. A tall, green construction fence sprang up that blocked America's most famous office complex from public view.
But now the fence has come down, revealing the familiar whitewashed sandstone facade and the lone Marine guard who stands watch at the entrance to the West Wing lobby.
Future phases of the project, whose total price tag tops $376 million, are expected to involve more excavation elsewhere on the North Lawn – the well-groomed park that tourists see from the fence on Pennsylvania Avenue – and possibly inside the East and West wings. GSA officials say wrap-up work is actually continuing on the underground utilities, albeit out of sight.
And they resolutely refuse to identify the next major work area, or to say when that construction will begin.
"The scope of any additional work in the West and East wings has not been determined, so the timing, obviously, hasn't been finalized," said agency spokeswoman Mafara Hobson.Hmmm.......What Future phases of the project?Read the full story here.
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