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The Salt Lake Temple renovation project reached its 20th month in August.
Video and photos documenting progress over the past three months, including the reinforcement of the Salt Lake Temple roof, the continued renovation of the Church Office Building Plaza and additional excavation on the north side of the temple, were shared in a news release Wednesday.
The August update comes more than two years after President Russell M. Nelson announced major renovation plans for the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Crews began adding replacement steel trusses to the temple roof as part of the seismic reinforcement of the temple in May. The new trusses are erected one by one to control the exposure of the existing roof, said Josh Fajardo, a superintendent with Jacobsen Construction Company.
“On a typical project, we would open up the entire structure, and we would do all the new trusses at the same time,” Fajardo said in the news release. “But because we have historic finishes that are remaining inside the temple that have to be protected, we have to do it one at a time.”
Each truss weighs about 35,000 pounds (15 metric tons) and is 90 feet (27.4 meters) long. Cross bracing is installed to provide lateral bracing. Gusset brackets, nuts and bolts secure the steel structures instead of welding to prevent fire hazard. The sturdy framework will also reinforce the attic, where new mechanical equipment is being installed.
“The roof structure is so critical for this project,” Fajardo said. “You have all the historic finishes inside the building that you’re trying to preserve. And starting from the top down, you need to have that good support and protection.”
What is happening with the Church Office Building plaza?
The Church Office Building Plaza closed for an upgrade in February 2021. Crews are now repairing damaged concrete that delaminated from years of leaking water.
The work is being done in 12-foot-wide strips that have been ground down two-and-a-half inches deep before a special concrete mix is applied that adheres to the existing concrete. The plaza will then be waterproofed to prevent leaking in the underground parking garage directly below, said Paul Shingleton, a Jacobsen project manager of the plaza renovation.
“Because it was built in the ’60s, all of the waterproofing that was used is full of asbestos — that was the thing back then,” Shingleton said. “In part of the removal process, we had to use a special company to remove all of the asbestos-laden waterproofing from the top of the roof deck.”
Once waterproofing and other repairs are complete, the next phase involves installing new landscaping to beautify the view of the temple.
“If you’re standing on State Street, looking (west) toward the temple, the design will direct your vision right to the temple,” Shingleton said.
North crane foundation laid
Crews poured the north crane foundation using 350 cubic yards or 267 cubic meters of concrete in early August. The foundation will allow for a second tower crane to be built. It will be 250 feet or 83 meters in height.
Additional excavation on the north side of the temple
Crews have excavated down to 45 feet below street level on the north side of the Salt Lake Temple. They will remove more than 20 more feet of soil before starting construction on the three-level underground north addition, facilities that will include baptismal fonts, additional sealing rooms, dressing rooms, administrative offices and other needs.
A secant wall, comprised of rows of interlocking concrete and steel columns, shores up the temple foundation for excavation. Beams (known as walers) attached to the wall keep soil in place by fastening long tension cables deep into the earth with grout, said Errold Tuley, a Jacobsen general foreman working on the plaza renovation.
“High profile jobs like this that are centerpieces for organizations — and especially organizations that do as much good as this church does across the entire world — are just some of my favorite projects to be on,” Tuley said. “When this project is finished, it is going to be spectacular. The site work that is on this project is just incredible. The design work, the craftsmanship and research that is going into it is going to make the temple beautiful.”