Since mid-March and throughout the summer, access to the Missouri Capitol has been limited because of restoration work on the building's south side, which is where most visitors enter.
But phase one of the $40 million project to restore the nearly century-old building is almost complete.
Work crews have spent the past several months removing the stone steps and repairing water damage underneath that extended well into the basement. Around 40 percent of the steps have been replaced with new ones, while the rest are being reused.
Cathy Brown, director of facilities management and construction for Gov. Jay Nixon's office of administration, has been overseeing the project.
"We have been incredibly pleased with the work of the contractor; they're very talented at what they do," Brown said. "We are maybe a little ahead of schedule right now, but the contract completion date is Dec. 23, and we will absolutely make that date."
The goal is to have the first phase of renovations complete before inauguration ceremonies in January. The cost of the work so far is just under $12 million.
There was one unforeseen issue that workers had to fix: More than 20 mini chambers, about 10 by 10 feet, were found underneath the south stairs that needed repair work.
"They just had a gravel floor," Brown said. "They'd been enclosed since the construction of this building, and we needed to get in there and do some structural repairs."
She added that the mini chambers were discovered in July and repaired by August.
Phase two is scheduled to begin late next summer and will focus on repairing the Capitol's façade and dome.
Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport