More than 14,000 pavers were placed between the Lincoln Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
SKANSKA USA BUILDING INC. More than 14,000 pavers were placed between the Lincoln Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

More than 3.6 million people visit the Lincoln Memorial every year. That adds up to at least 7.2 million feet walking on the monument's East Plaza. A recent renovation project is making sure these feet have a smooth place to tread.

Skanska USA Building Inc., Parsippany, N.J., completed an historic renovation of the Lincoln Memorial East Plaza in time for the swearing in of President Barack Obama and for the year-long Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial celebration. Skanska started the $3.7 million renovation in early 2008. Skanska employees and subcontractors placed more than 14,000 pavers—100-lb. concrete pavers that make up the plaza's walkways—between the Lincoln Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool that leads to the Washington Monument.

Using a walk-behind saw on a set of rails, workers could guide the saw to a perfect cut.
SKANSKA USA BUILDING INC. Using a walk-behind saw on a set of rails, workers could guide the saw to a perfect cut.

Completing the project on time required the problem-solving abilities and dedication of Giancarlo Bulfon, Skanska assistant project manager, and his team. “At first the project was a bit of a puzzle. We knew when we started there would be challenges to solve along the way,” says Bulfon. “We spent the first two weeks cutting the stones using every saw or machine we could think of but it just didn't work. We couldn't get a straight line.”

The difficulty with the project was that square pavers had to be placed in long, curving lines that are not uniform. After some trial and error and much tinkering, the Skanska team created a walk-behind saw that was used only on this project. The saw was placed on a set of rails to guide a perfect cut and carefully shape each paver to its unique curve. The solution resulted in a faster workflow and allowed the project to finish early.

The Lincoln Memorial will be rededicated with a public program on May 30, 2009 where the President has been invited to give an address.