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State Capitol's front doors will reopen after three years - but it won't be pretty

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BATON ROUGE - Visitors will soon be able to walk through the State Capitol’s front doors again after the 86-year-old building gets a new covered walkway.

The walkway may clash with the building’s Art Deco architecture, but it will allow people to safely walk up the broad steps labeled with the names of each state and the year it was accepted into the US.

The front doors at the Capitol have been closed for nearly three years because bits of mortar were falling from the 34-story façade.

"A building with these large limestone blocks will shift occasionally as they're supposed to do. The mortar is old and sometimes it will flake out," said Louisiana Department of Administration spokesperson Jacques Berry.

The walkway will protect visitors until the state can afford to finish repairs on the building, which will cost about $80 million. The Legislature will have to approve the funding.

A team of workers on scaffolding spent months this year repointing mortar, honing limestone, and restoring historic decorations. The "pilot program" only extended to the to the first six floors and didn't include the legislative chambers.

"If we want to conserve the building the way it should be, then this is the type of maintenance we should do regularly. In fact, this is the first time it's been done," Berry said.

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