With approximately 3.5 million visitors a year, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable icons in the world. With such high traffic and tourism, it was time to give the iconic landmark a few upgrades. The Statue of Liberty went through a $30 million renovation that was completed in October of 2012. “Life and Safety Upgrades” were conducted by the National Park Services, which included a rescue elevator, upgraded bathrooms and fire suppression systems, and new mechanical and electrical systems for climate control.
For the first time ever at the Statue of Liberty, people in wheelchairs or with accessibility needs are able to visit one of the observation decks at the top of the pedestal. The new renovations are estimated to allow for 26,000 more annual visitors because of better traffic flow.
Thousands of people visit the Statue of Liberty every day, but only a small portion of them will be able to visit the top of the crown. Reservations are limited to three groups of 10 per hour, meaning a total of 240 guests will get to visit the crown each day. Tickets to reach the crown are normally sold out months in advance, and 393 steps must be climbed to reach it. The stair rails and protective glass on the spiral staircases were upgraded in the renovation. Another major part of the renovation was the rescue elevator that was installed. The rack and pinion elevator is custom made and similar to those used in mines, steel mills, airports, and manufacturing facilities.
Rescue Elevator Design
The rescue elevator was installed for emergency personnel and maintenance purposes. It is the only elevator installed inside the statue and travels from the pedestal to the crown. It is installed adjacent to the spiral staircases, allowing emergency personnel to reach distressed guests at four different intervals. The carrying capacity is three, but the elevator’s much enhanced safety feature allows a visitor to be transported safely to the main elevator for complete egress from the monument without having to navigate the tight and crowded stairwell. The elevator is custom designed to work specifically for this application and location and is the only elevator of its kind in the world.
The Statue of Liberty is now a safer, more convenient attraction that can accommodate more guests than ever before. With the new rescue elevator, people who are unable to use the stairs will not be restricted from reaching the crown, and emergency people will be able to reach guests in need quicker and more efficiently.