Work on State House renovation on hold amid contractor lawsuit

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Three years into a $283 million renovation at the New Jersey State House and selective demolition and investigative work is done. But major construction has yet to begin due to a lawsuit by the losing general contractor bidder.

The state has spent just over $27 million so far on the project.

"There's no other statehouse which was in as disrepair as this statehouse was when we started this project,” says New Jersey Building Authority executive director Raymond Arcario.

The original New Jersey State House has had 17 separate additions since it was built in 1792. A proposal in the 1970s contended that the building was too compromised and should be demolished.

"Water has infiltrated this building for decades. And the conditions found when we started to open up the building and expose the structure behind it were nothing short of horrific,” Arcario says.

RELATED: Judge dismisses suit to block State House renovation 
RELATED: State House renovation plans put on hold amid court battle 

The first 10 months of work for the general contractor will occur mostly underground to strengthen the foundations. Scaffolding will also go up to repair the exterior.

"Brownstone and stone and limestone and stucco and all of that will be repaired and in some cases where it can't be repaired it will be replaced,” says Arcario. “All of the roofs will be replaced. Much of the roofing you see on the building is slate and that has exceeded its useful life by quite a bit."

Historic areas inside the State House, including the governor’s office, will be refurbished.

"The building will be true to its historic components and elements but will also be able to serve in what we hope is the next 50 years,” Arcario says.

The work will take three years from when the general contractor is selected, making it highly unlikely it will be completed before 2023.

The renovation project was authorized in 2016 under then-Gov. Chris Christie.

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