Out go the fences, in come the guardrails at state Capitol

Permanent bronze guard rails will replace existing temporary barriers along overhangs and other perches at the Minnesota State Capitol. Brian Bakst | MPR News

The main entrances to Minnesota’s state Capitol get a new look starting this week.

The grand staircases leading into the 113-year-old building will be upgraded to provide a safety feature some lawmakers say should have come a long time ago. New bronze guardrails are being installed toward the top of the front stairs and the entrances on the north, east and west sides.

They will replace temporary barriers meant to discourage people from perching on overhangs.

A temporary barrier at the top of the Minnesota state Capitol main steps. Brian Bakst | MPR News

The permanent guardrails have been under consideration since an extensive Capitol renovation was completed about two years ago. Officials say they had to balance the historic attributes of the building with visitor safety.

The $675,000 expense will come out of a Capitol restoration account, according to Department of Administration estimates.

Installation work is due to wrap up within a few weeks.

A state report outlines the plans for new guardrails at Minnesota’s Capitol.