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White House emerges from $86m two-year makeover… but it doesn’t look like  anything has actually changed

  • Four year construction project expected to  cost $376 million
  • After two years and $86 million, not much  appears to have happened
  • Witnesses say it has involved an  underground,  multistory structure which required ‘truckloads of heavy-duty  concrete’

By Daily Mail Reporter UPDATED:11:04 EST, 13 September 2012

It has taken nearly two years, and $86  million but the West Wing of the White House has finally emerged from behind the  gravel and scaffolding and the result is – nothing much.

Two years remain of the project, landing the  White House administration with a total bill of over $376 million, but the next  phase has yet to be determined.

The current outcome of the construction  project, which began in September 2010, is visually anticlimactic, however what  lies beneath the surface remains shrouded in mystery.

No changes: Ground crews finish up renovations to the grounds around the North Lawn of the White House after two years of renovations where not much seem to have been doneNo changes: Ground crews finish up renovations to the  grounds around the North Lawn of the White House after two years of renovations  where not much seem to have been done

A year ago White House officials said it was  an ‘overdue upgrade of underground facilities’ including the sewage system, but  rumours said the big hole in the ground was in fact the construction of an  underground tunnel.

Witnesses have said the project involved a  sprawling, multistory structure whose underground assembly required truckload  after truckload of heavy-duty concrete and steel beams.

The GSA maintains this structure is merely ‘facilitating’ the utility work. But neither the agency nor the administration  will elaborate on its function.

Last year, when the project began, GSA  officials denied the construction was for additional office space or another  bomb shelter. The existing White House bunker, known as the Presidential  Emergency Operations Center, is under the East Wing and dates to the Roosevelt  administration.

Getting there: In this photo, taken on August 11, the driveway has been repaved, and big holes that once marred the North Lawn are gone - yet the difference is not exactly strikingGetting there: In this photo, taken on August 11, the  driveway has been repaved, and big holes that once marred the North Lawn are  gone – yet the difference is not exactly striking

 

Building work: The ground in front of the West Wing is dug up during construction in November 2011Building work: The ground in front of the West Wing is  dug up during construction in November 2011

'Big dig': This picture was taken in spring 2011, showing a large green barrier around the iconic Washington building in the background ‘Big dig’: This picture was taken in spring 2011,  showing a large green barrier around the iconic Washington building in the  background

The construction project began in  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.

Bulldozers have covered up the hole.  Contractors have repaved the asphalt  driveway. National Park Service crews are  mostly finished re-grading,  re-sodding and replanting. Their goal has been to  return the area to its original appearance.

So what, exactly, did all the digging,  hammering, welding and concrete-pouring accomplish?

The General Services Administration, which  oversaw the work, said it was to replace aging water and steam lines, sewers,  storm sewers and  electrical wiring conduits. Heating, air conditioning and fire  control  equipment also are being updated, officials said.

Under construction: Building works adjacent to the West Wing in 2010. The four-year project will see the front yard at 1600 Pennsylvania remain a noisy building site until 2014Under construction: Building works adjacent to the West  Wing in 2010. The four-year project will see the front yard at 1600 Pennsylvania  remain a noisy building site until 2014

The GSA went to great lengths to keep the  work secret, not only putting up  the fence around the excavation site but  ordering subcontractors not to  talk to anyone and to tape over company info on  trucks pulling into the  White House gates.

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.

Major work: Construction will temporarily obscure some of the iconic building from viewMajor work: Construction will temporarily obscure some  of the iconic building from view

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2202767/White-House-emerges-300m-year-makeover-doesn-t-look-like-actually-changed.html#ixzz26Pamllda

About Post Author

Ralph Turchiano

I have a strong affinity for the sciences which led me to create my sites. My compulsion for the past decade has been reviewing literally every peer-reviewed research article. Which can easily be validated by following my posts. To me, science is where the real news is, as it will mold our destiny beyond that of politics or economics. 😉 Please feel free to e-mail: 161803p314159@gmail.com
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