In March, work began to repair some of the flying buttresses damaged during the August 2011 earthquake. Immense scaffolding was erected around the more than 90-year-old limestone buttresses along the Cathedral’s apse. The six buttresses of the apse moved significantly during the quake, resulting in damage to the pinnacles atop the buttresses, and cracking and separation of the arch stones that span from the apse wall to the buttress pier.
The scaffolding, erected with funds from the generous $5 million Lilly Endowment grant announced on the one-year anniversary of the quake, allows workers to inspect the damage more closely and determine the steps necessary for repairs. Initial reports from head stone mason Joe Alonso and the consulting engineer indicate that the damage may be a bit more severe and complex to repair from what was initially observed from the ground. Still, he stressed that the Cathedral remains structurally sound while the long road of restoration moves forward.