The 3.5-ton bronze sculpture of Abraham Lincoln overlooking I-80 between Laramie and Cheyenne is set to be removed from its pedestal this morning.

The 30-foot granite pedestal will remain behind while the statue of Honest Abe is transported by truck to Eagle Bronze Foundry in Lander for restoration and cleaning.  The frequently rough weather at the highest point on I-80 has caused excessive patina build-up on the sculpture, rendering it nearly black in some areas.

The original bronze surface will be exposed as the statue is sandblasted with glass beads, which will remove surface oxides and contaminates.  Laquer seal will be applied for UV protection, and two coats of hardener will be applied to enhance the protective seal in an effort to make the sculpture more weather-resistant.

The entire process, from the statue’s removal to its return, is expected to take about two weeks, and will cost $29,480.  It is being paid for with funds allocated by the State of Wyoming.

The sculpture and pedestal were both created by late Centennial artist Robert Russin during 1958-1959.  It was formed and cast in Mexico City before being transported to Wyoming via railroad.  This is the second time the bust of Honest Abe has been cleaned and resealed. The first restoration occurred in 1992.