Salt Lake Temple renovation update: Seismic and excavation work below, truss placement and stone removal from above

As the second year of renovations on the Salt Lake Temple comes to an end, work continues both above and below — seismic strengthening and lower-level excavations at the bottom of the temple, and the removal of stones and placement of trusses along the temple’s towers, roof and upper walls.

The latest in a series of regular updates on the temple renovations and the upgrade of the nearby Church Office Building plaza was published Thursday, Oct. 28, on Newsroom. The Salt Lake Temple closed December 2019 for renovations projected to take up to four years, with the plaza closing in February 2021.

Excavation under the foundation of the Salt Lake Temple continues as part of the seismic strengthening process called jack and bore, in Salt Lake City, October 2021.
Excavation under the foundation of the Salt Lake Temple continues as part of the seismic strengthening process called jack and bore, in Salt Lake City, October 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The “jack and bore” process for the temple’s seismic strengthening has pipes 3.5 to 4 feet in diameter and 40 feet long being gradually inserted into the original foundation, with soil being removed from inside. The pipes are then filled with reinforced steel, post-tensioning strands and high-strength concrete. So far, five pipes have been installed, with three filled.

Horizontal bracing beams are installed to reinforce the vertical columns of the secant wall of the temple, in Salt Lake City, October 2021.
Horizontal bracing beams are installed to reinforce the vertical columns of the secant wall of the temple, in Salt Lake City, October 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

On the north side of the temple, deep excavation continues to prepare for three additional lower levels of a temple annex, which will include sealing rooms, two baptistries, administrative offices, changing rooms and a tunnel entrance under North Temple Street from the Conference Center parking garage.

The north side of the Salt Lake Temple, with the Joseph Smith Memorial Building to the left, covered by scaffolding and surrounded by construction equipment as crews continue the renovation project started in 2019, in Salt Lake City, October 2021.
The north side of the Salt Lake Temple, with the Joseph Smith Memorial Building to the left, covered by scaffolding and surrounded by construction equipment as crews continue the renovation project started in 2019, in Salt Lake City, October 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

With the excavation nearly at the bottom level, the next steps will include pouring a concrete slab as a working surface prior to the beginning of formwork.

All five rows of horizontal bracing beams — called walers — in the large secant wall have been installed, reinforcing the vertical steel and concrete columns that form that wall.

Finials and stones that must be removed from the towers as part of the renovation process are cataloged and labeled and wait to be moved to safe storage, in Salt Lake City, October 2021.
Finials and stones that must be removed from the towers as part of the renovation process are cataloged and labeled and wait to be moved to safe storage, in Salt Lake City, October 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Along the Salt Lake Temple’s highest reaches, finials and stones of various sizes are being removed from the towers and upper north and south walls, with each stone cataloged and labeled before being stored so they can be reinstalled at the original placements.

Some pieces of original, pioneer-era stonework are removed, cataloged and stored in order to be returned to their correct places at the end of the project, Salt Lake City, October 2021.
Some pieces of original, pioneer-era stonework are removed, cataloged and stored in order to be returned to their correct places at the end of the project, Salt Lake City, October 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Also, additional roof trusses have been installed alongside original trusses, which remain in place. The new trusses help brace the upper north and south temple walls as part of seismic improvements.

View from the west side of the Church Office Building plaza where new concrete has been poured and waterproofed, in Salt Lake City, October 2021.
View from the west side of the Church Office Building plaza where new concrete has been poured and waterproofed, in Salt Lake City, October 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Also on Temple Square, reconstruction work continues on the Church Office Building plaza, with new concrete laid and waterproofed. An elliptical concrete structure — to display flags in the plaza — is under construction.

The makings of a new concrete elliptical structure on the southeast side of the Church Office Building plaza where country flags will be displayed, in Salt Lake City, October 2021.
The makings of a new concrete elliptical structure on the southeast side of the Church Office Building plaza where country flags will be displayed, in Salt Lake City, October 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints