This story is a reverse-chronological timeline of updates related to the Salt Lake Temple renovation and will be updated throughout the project. Find more information at templesquare.org. All photos are ©2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
In January 2020, the South Visitors’ Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, was demolished as part of the Salt Lake Temple renovation project. Crews have recently completed excavation of the area and are beginning to erect pavilions and a new guest building. Hex Lag Screw
The above-ground pavilions will offer direct and unobstructed views of the temple. They will be connected by a large underground hall with unique experiences for guests to learn about the temple.
The upper level will house an updated Salt Lake Temple cutaway scale model and a statue of Jesus Christ. Plans for the lower level include an ongoing temple open house experience. This will include replicas of sacred temple ordinance rooms, such as a baptismal font and instruction, sealing, and celestial rooms.
The guest experience will help visitors understand Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness, the role of the Savior Jesus Christ, the purpose of temples to unite families for eternity, and the importance of families as the foundation of society.
It is anticipated that the new guest buildings and experience will open to the public when the Salt Lake Temple renovation is complete in 2025.
How do you suspend a 187-million-pound iconic temple while excavating 20 feet below its nearly 170-year-old foundation? With reinforced steel tubes in a process called “jack and bore.” This process is a key component in the seismic upgrade of the Salt Lake Temple, now in its third year of renovation.
Watch the video below to see why jack-and-bore crews spend eight-plus hours a day in steel tubes hand digging under the tonnage of the temple and why they must be laser-focused with their approach. The entire temple literally rests on the result of their gritty but intricate work.
As part of the renovation project, many of the grounds and areas surrounding Temple Square are being remodeled. The new landscape design will better integrate the temple grounds with Main Street, the Church Office Building plaza, and the northeast areas of the temple that surround it.
Main Street Plaza began renovation in April. The gardens, reflection pool, and decorative landscaping were removed to repair and add new waterproofing to the decking that covers the underground employee parking garage.
New stonework is being installed on the Church Office Building plaza. The walking areas are also receiving new pavers.
Crews have made progress on implementing a newly designed contemplative garden space northwest of the temple. The gardens will include additional restroom facilities for visitors to Temple Square and events in the Tabernacle and Assembly Hall.
The West Temple mid-block crosswalk has been closed for several months. New planter boxes are being built as part of the future crosswalk between Temple Square and the Church History Museum.
The Main Street Plaza on Temple Square is now closed to the public. Renovations to the plaza will enhance landscaping and fountain areas to provide a consistent look and flow through Temple Square.
Just east of the Main Street Plaza, work on the Church Office Building plaza is making significant progress. Bright orange snow-melting conduit is being installed under freshly poured sidewalks in some areas — providing snow-free walkways. New stonework is also being placed in some of the walls near State Street.
On the south side of the temple, excavation has started to prepare for two new buildings that will provide additional guest experiences and services for visitors to Temple Square.
On the north side of the Salt Lake Temple, crews are beginning construction of the second floor of the temple addition by building sheer walls around the whole perimeter of the addition. This addition will accommodate three floors of new temple space — including baptistries, sealing rooms, dressing rooms, administrative offices and so forth.
Due to the ongoing renovation on Temple Square, the Main Street Plaza connecting North Temple and South Temple will be closing on April 11, 2022, for additional renovation and landscaping. It will remain closed until Fall 2023.
Crews will complete the following:
The following map shows available pedestrian access points to and from buildings on Temple Square.
The following are the latest renderings of the proposed plans for Temple Square and the Main Street Plaza.
The main renovation work on the Salt Lake Temple continues.
The area where the North Visitors’ Center was previously located is now being refilled with soil to build up a level surface for future construction of additional restrooms to support events in the Tabernacle and Assembly Hall and the drilling of a new water well.
A fourth concrete pour was completed in early March that finished the bottom floor of the North Temple addition. This new footing is 42 inches (1 meter) thick and heavily reinforced with steel. The construction of shear walls and columns to support upper floors has also begun.
On the Church Office Building plaza, snow-melt conduits are being placed underneath where walkways will be poured with concrete.
As 2022 begins, the Salt Lake Temple renovation project enters its third year.
Over the past two years, two tower cranes were erected on the north and south sides of the temple. These cranes have been used for various purposes, including removing stones from the walls and towers. These stones will be cleaned and repaired and then replaced in their original locations. The cranes have also been used to lift materials for workers into and around the temple. A third crane with greater lifting capacity was used to lift the new roof trusses. The following video shares the experience of the crane operators.
Current work on the Church Office Building plaza involves waterproofing the repaired concrete surface and installing large Styrofoam blocks under the landscaped areas. The blocks help reduce the load on the existing concrete deck. When completed near the end of 2022, the plaza will also boast flags from various nations around the world and new landscaping.
The machine pictured above removes the damaged concrete to a depth of about 2 to 2.5 inches at the plaza top deck. It is known on site as the “concrete lawnmower,” but its proper name is a hydro blaster machine. The blaster shoots an oscillating, high-pressured water stream through a tiny nozzle that removes the damaged concrete (seen in front of the machine).
The “broom” machine then removes the concrete. This machine has a large rotating brush that cleans debris from the concrete surface so that it can be repaired with new concrete.
The surface is also being filled with soil and tamped down to provide a stable and even surface for future paved areas:
The photo above shows a view from the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, overlooking work on the Church Office Building plaza. The white blocks are the Styrofoam being placed to reduce the load of the soil on the concrete deck.
As the excavation on the north side of the temple nears completion, excavation on other sides of the temple will continue as workers prepare for further stabilization work. The picture below was taken in front of the east towers of the temple. The excavation is preparation for a new concrete pad. The stable surface will support the heavy equipment to be used in the jack-and-bore process.
The North Visitors’ Center demolition is nearly complete. However, some work remains, such as removing the basement walls and sorting rubble for recycling. The photo below shows the area where the North Visitors’ Center used to stand.
A second large concrete pour was completed two weeks ago in the area shown below. It created the bottom foundation for the temple’s new three-level north addition.
In this photo, workers are preparing the extensive steel reinforcement needed for the concrete pour.
The red sensors (below) monitor temperature before and after the pour to ensure proper curing and strengthening of the concrete.
View of the area where the second large concrete pour was recently completed:
Construction on the north addition of the Salt Lake Temple continues. Crews have laid concrete over more than half of the area. This provides a clean and level working surface for the foundation of the new floors. This week, the largest concrete pour to date will form the first quarter of the bottom 42-inch-thick floor of the temple addition. Some 1,800 cubic yards will be poured over a period of about 8–10 hours. Three concrete pump machines will be used simultaneously for this continuous pour.
In the photos below, workers lay a steel mat to hold the concrete.
Workers recently began vertical drilling inside the temple’s tower and wall columns. The first drilling commenced in the north wall near the northwest tower. Once the drilling reaches through the entire structure, post tension cables will be inserted, tensioned into the cavity and anchored into the foundation (about 80 feet or 24 meters below). The machine pictured is one of two drills positioned on the roof of the temple.
The demolition of the North Visitors’ Center, which was first announced in June 2021, is on track for completion by January 2022. Debris, such as concrete and steel, is carefully sorted for recycling purposes. The replica of the Christus statue was carefully removed from the facility this summer for preservation. The statue will be reinstalled on Temple Square at the end of the renovation.
The area where the North Visitors’ Center previously stood will become a contemplative garden space with clear views of the temple. It will also include additional restrooms to support events in the Tabernacle and Assembly Hall. At the start of the Temple Square renovation project in January 2020, the main arrival center and primary venue for guests shifted to the Conference Center.
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The jack and bore process continues. To seismically strengthen the temple, large pipes are inserted under the existing footings of the building. These pipes are heavily reinforced with steel and filled with structural concrete to act as supporting beams beneath the existing foundation. The soil inside the pipes is initially removed by hand to ensure the pipes are precisely installed. About half of the pipes will be dug by hand and half will be drilled with a machine using the large green augers shown below.
Workers on the Church Office Building plaza project are preparing for the future placement of flags to represent the nations of the world. Styrofoam blocks are used as spacers to reduce the weight of the soil on the repaired deck. The Styrofoam blocks will be covered with topsoil for landscaping.
The meticulous process of removing and cataloging stone for repair and restoration on the eastern towers and walls of the temple can be seen from the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.
The First Presidency has released a statement on the new estimated completion date for the Temple renovation project:
► You may also like: First Presidency announces updates, new completion date for Temple Square renovations
In the second week of November, crews began demolishing the North Visitors’ Center. Earlier in 2021, it was announced that this building would be removed as part of the ongoing Salt Lake Temple renovation project. The area will be replaced with a contemplative garden space with clear views of the temple. It will also include additional restroom facilities to support events in the Tabernacle and Assembly Hall.
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Excavation is nearing completion on the north side of the temple. The north addition will accommodate three additional floors with two baptistries, sealing rooms, dressing rooms, and administrative offices. Crews began laying concrete to create a working slab, which will provide a clean and level working surface for the foundation of the new floors.
Excavation continues on the north side of the temple as workers deepen the retaining walls.
The “jack and bore” process continues. This process consists of inserting large pipes under the existing footings of the temple. These pipes are heavily reinforced with steel and filled with structural concrete to act as supporting beams beneath the existing foundation of the temple.
In this photo, the pipe is being inserted while a fan provides fresh air to the workers who remove the soil inside the pipe.
The picture below shows a complete jack and bore beam filled with structural concrete. On its left is a pipe in the process of being inserted under the footings of the temple. The worker inside the pipe gradually removes the soil to allow the pipe to be inserted under the existing footing. At this location, under the west towers of the temple, the pipes are 40 feet (12 meters) long.
This photo shows a completed jack and bore pipe installation that is filled with concrete on the right. Another pipe is being prepared on the left.
On the temple roof, preparation is underway to begin the work of vertically drilling inside the tower and wall columns. This will be done to insert post-tension cables that will be anchored into the new foundation of the temple some 80 feet (24 meters) or more below. The machine in the photo below will be used to perform precision vertical drilling inside the stone columns and walls. Two large drilling platforms have been built to provide adequate working areas for this complex and delicate work near the west towers.
Waterproofing continues on the Church Office Building plaza area.
This area is being prepared for flag stands to represent the nations of the world.
The “jack and bore” process, a key component of the seismic renovation system of the Salt Lake Temple, continues to move forward. Pipes filled with reinforced steel, post-tensioning strands and high-strength concrete are placed in the original foundation. These steel pipes are 3.5 to 4 feet in diameter. Soil is removed from inside the pipes as they are gradually inserted horizontally. Each pipe is 40 feet long, made from two 20-foot-long pieces welded together. So far, five of 92 such pipes have been installed and three have been filled with concrete.
Deep excavation continues on the north side of the temple to prepare for three additional lower levels. These lower floors will include sealing rooms, two baptistries, administrative offices, changing rooms and a tunnel entrance to the temple from the Conference Center parking garage.
The excavation is nearly at the bottom level. The next steps will include pouring concrete slab as a working surface before formwork begins on the lowest floor of the temple addition.
All five rows of walers (horizontal bracing beams) in the large secant wall have now been installed to further reinforce the vertical steel and concrete columns that form the secant wall.
Finials and stones of various sizes continue to be removed from the towers and the upper north and south walls of the temple. Each stone is carefully cataloged and labeled before being taken to a storage place. Each stone will be reinstalled at the very same location it was originally placed. The picture below shows the original black markings used by the early Latter-day Saint builders to label each stone location.
Additional roof trusses have also been installed alongside the original trusses, which will remain in place. All new trusses will brace the upper north and south temple walls as part of the seismic improvements.
Workers wear protective suits as they work on the stone removal.
Reconstruction work on the Church Office Building plaza is proceeding. New concrete has been laid and waterproofed. An elliptical concrete structure is being built to display flags in the plaza.
The last photo shows a view of the temple from the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. On the east side of the temple is a new utility bridge to provide additional power for the vertical drilling work. This drilling will run the length of the walls and towers from top to bottom to further reinforce the building’s stonework.
Newsroom published the following construction update on September 23, 2021.
Over the past month, the Salt Lake Temple has begun “jack and bore,” a major seismic strengthening process in which steel pipes, 3.5 to 4 feet in diameter, are inserted below its existing foundations. The soil is removed from inside the pipe as it is gradually inserted horizontally. Each pipe under the temple towers is 40 feet long, made from two 20-foot-long segments welded together. The soil inside the pipes will initially be removed by hand to ensure the pipes are precisely installed. The gap between the outside surface of the pipe and the surrounding soil is then filled with grout. After the pipes are installed, they will be filled with reinforced steel, including post-tensioning strands, and high-strength concrete. The entire existing foundation of the temple will be supported by 92 such pipes.
The first pipe was inserted in late August under the east towers.
On the north side of the temple, the excavation has continued past the level of the entrance tunnel. This excavation will provide space for three new underground floors, which will be used as an addition to the temple. The tunnel will connect the Salt Lake Temple to the underground parking garage in the Conference Center to provide safer and easier access to those visiting the sacred edifice.
Two new trusses were installed on the roof of the temple. Three of the eight areas (or bays) have already been completed as part of the truss installation. The roof is closed each time new trusses are installed to protect the interior finishes of the historic building.
The secant wall that acts as a retaining wall around the temple continues to be excavated to prepare for the three future floors underground and to contain the soil under the temple.
Newsroom published the following construction update on August 18, 2021.
As the renovation of Temple Square and the Church Office Building Plaza enters its 20th month, the following video and photos below give a glimpse of the past three months of work on this enormous project. The most recent construction undertakings include the reinforcement of the temple roof, continued renovation of the Church Office Building Plaza to the east, and additional excavation on the north side of the temple.
Excavation has reached 45 feet below street level on the north side of the Salt Lake Temple. Twenty more feet of soil will be removed before construction begins on the three-level underground north addition. These facilities will include the baptismal fonts, additional sealing rooms, dressing rooms, administrative offices and so forth.
Newsroom published the following construction update on July 16, 2021.
As Temple Square has begun reopening to the public, visitors are wondering what is happening with the Salt Lake Temple renovation. At the Conference Center, the roof gardens provide a view of the renovation project, as shown in the following photo.
The lagging shown in the next photo, used to prevent cave-ins, helps contain all the soil pressure from the surrounding areas as the crews begin deeper excavation in preparation to construct three lower levels of the temple. These floors will include temple maintenance facilities, two baptistries, dressing rooms, sealing rooms, administrative offices, and more. As the depth of the retaining wall increases, additional walers (horizontal steel beams) are added to strengthen the structure.
The secant walls and buttresses shown below are reminiscent of fortresses. They contain the soil and hold the foundation of the temple in place in preparation for jack and bore drilling under the existing footings of the temple. This process will begin in August to prepare for the new foundation that will encase the existing foundation of the temple and the base isolators designed to resist seismic events.
Workers continue to remove stones from the top of the temple walls and towers in preparation for vertical seismic reinforcement. So far, approximately 1,000 stones have been removed, with 4,000 more to go.
On the Church Office Building plaza, crews remove damaged concrete on the surface of the existing slab to a depth of about 1.5 inches (4 centimeters). The machine in the photo below removes the damaged concrete in preparation for the placement of high-strength grout to repair the concrete surface.
As announced in June 2021, the North Visitors’ Center has been decommissioned. All art, exhibits, and artifacts in the building have been removed. The “Christus” statue was carefully boxed and removed by a crane on Monday, July 12, 2021. It will be placed in storage for preservation and will return to Temple Square at the end of the renovation process.
For more updates, visit TempleSquare.org or the Temple Square Facebook page.
Newsroom published the following construction update on June 21, 2021.
The Salt Lake Temple has been closed for renovation since December 2019. The Church Office Building plaza closed for an upgrade in February 2021. The following is the latest in a series of regular updates about these projects.
Over the past month and a half, four steel trusses have been added to the roof of the Salt Lake Temple.
The existing steel trusses (painted yellow in the photos below) will remain and are paired, side by side, with the new trusses as part of the seismic design of the temple. The new trusses are erected two at a time to control the exposure of the existing roof. Each new truss weighs about 35,000 pounds (15 metric tons) and is 88 feet (27 meters) long at the bottom. Once a pair of new trusses is in place, cross bracing is installed to immediately provide lateral bracing. The bracing is not welded in place but secured by nuts and bolts to avoid the risk of fire.
The deep secant wall, with buttresses that were previously built, is being gradually exposed to prepare for further deep excavation needed to construct three additional floors of the temple facilities. These facilities will be directly north of the temple and include the baptismal fonts, additional sealing rooms, dressing rooms, administrative offices and so forth. The buttresses of the secant wall will also resist the loads and lateral forces from the massive weight of the temple, which exceeds 185 million pounds (84,000 metric tons).
In addition, large horizontal steel beams, called walers, are installed to further brace and strengthen the steel and concrete columns that form the secant wall. Post-tensioned cables run through the walers and add pressure against the secant wall. This helps resist the soil pressure that naturally increases with depth. The depth of the secant wall is approximately 80 feet (24 meters). Excavation will continue until it reaches the depth of the bottom of the new lower third floor of the additional facilities.
The tunnel underneath North Temple street that will connect the Conference Center parking to the new second floor of the temple is now complete up to the wall of the Conference Center parking garage. The tunnel wall is lined with concrete, and the floor is now a structural concrete slab. The tunnel will be excavated into the Conference Center parking lot in the coming months. Below is a view of the Salt Lake Temple from the tunnel underneath North Temple street.
On the Church Office Building plaza, the fountain is now entirely removed.
Newsroom published the following construction update on May 6, 2021.
Crews have reached the end of a new 180-foot-long (55 meters) tunnel underneath North Temple street that will connect the Conference Center parking lot to the new underground temple entrance. The final work of removing the concrete wall that leads into the Conference Center parking structure will be done later.
Workers recently began placing scaffolding on the west and north sides of the temple. The photo below is of the north wall. Scaffolding already covers the south side and will eventually surround the entire structure.
Crews continue to remove rows of stones from the temple walls for repair and cleaning. Each stone is carefully labeled and will be returned to its original spot.
To keep Salt Lake City clean, the renovation site has a truck washing bay. Before vehicles exit the temple renovation site onto South Temple street, wheels, axles, mud flaps, and other parts of each vehicle are thoroughly sprayed.
The photo below shows the progress of the excavation on the north side of the temple. The tunnel (shown in the first two photos above) is on the far left. In the middle is the preparation for the tower crane. This crane will be in place after the crane concrete foundation is poured. Lagging surrounds the site to keep soil in place.
This photo looks west at the renovation of the Church Office Building plaza. The Church Administration Building (left), the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (middle) and Church Office Building (right) are also shown. Crews are using conveyor belts to move soil and debris to a truck loading location. Trucks enter the site from North Temple and exit onto South Temple.
Finally, below are several square-headed nails that crews have found in the temple. These show some of the workmanship and materials used to build the Salt Lake Temple, which was finished in 1893. The longest nails are six inches (15 centimeters) long and show few signs of corrosion.
Newsroom published the following construction update regarding work performed thus far in April 2021.
As part of the Salt Lake Temple renovation project, a tunnel is being constructed underneath North Temple to connect the Conference Center parking lot to the underground facilities and entrance to the temple. The tunnel excavation is about 80 percent complete. These photos show the steel arches that are encased in shotcrete (a form of grout) to create the initial lining of the tunnel walls. The steel arches are spaced 4 feet (1.2 meters) apart. The drilling machine is used to remove the upper portion of soil, which is then hauled away by an excavator. This also removes the lower portion of the excavation as shown in the third photo below.
The temple is now surrounded on three sides by a secant wall. The secant walls are installed as close to the bottom edge of the existing footings as possible to contain and brace them in place. The secant wall is built by drilling deep holes where alternating steel and concrete columns are installed. These overlap with each other to create the retaining wall.
The copper roof sheathing of the temple has been completely removed and replaced with a temporary roof. This is in preparation for the installation of additional steel trusses, an important part of the seismic strengthening of the temple.
The upper stones of the temple walls are being gradually removed to prepare for the structural concrete bonding beams that will brace the walls. The stones that are removed will be reinstalled in their original positions.
When workers need to access the higher levels of the towers, they use a variety of safety measures, such as mandatory harnesses, to prevent falls. Harnesses are tied to existing hooks anchored in stones.
As stones are removed from the temple for repair and cleaning, workers ensure they are properly cataloged and labeled so they can be returned to their exact original placement. In this photo, workers help the tower crane operator guide the stone to placement for transportation and storage.
On the Church Office Building plaza, multiple conveyor belts help carry materials and debris for hauling off-site. The two fountains are being removed, along with walkways and planter boxes.
Newsroom published the following construction update regarding work performed in March 2021.
This week on the Salt Lake Temple renovation project:
The excavation to create a tunnel underneath North Temple is underway. This tunnel will connect the Conference Center parking lot to the underground temple entrance to create safer and easier access for visitors to the temple. Previously, canopy tubes were installed at the upper perimeter of the tunnel to provide a support frame before drilling and excavation began. The excavation is now about halfway complete.
The worker and material lift continue to be assembled. Workers are now constructing scaffolding bridges that will connect the lift to the scaffolding, which will surround the entire temple. The lift will provide access to the various floors of the temple.
The work to remove the current temple roof and provide a temporary cover is about halfway through.
The Church Office Building Plaza has undergone a significant change. Most of the area surrounding the fountain has been excavated in preparation for significant restructuring and landscaping work.
A construction road made of recycled asphalt has been completed through the Church Office Building Plaza area from North Temple to South Temple to accommodate the movement of construction equipment and large trucks.
Aerial view of Salt Lake Temple Renovation, with focus on the area north of the temple. The square-shaped excavation on the right side of the picture is where the foundation for another tower crane will be placed.
In a press release published on March 12, 2021, the First Presidency provided an update on the Salt Lake Temple Renovation which included some changes to the project. The press release included details such as:
Read the full press release and see new renderings.
Newsroompublished the following construction update regarding work performed in February 2021.
Many of the stones on the top of the temple walls are being carefully removed for cleaning, preservation and short-term storage. They are labeled so they can be returned to their original places.
Work continues on the drilling underneath North Temple to provide for an underground entrance to the temple from the Conference Center parking structure.
Hex Flange Nut With Serrated In this photo below, drilling on the temple side consists of installing canopy tubes to create a structure that will support further excavation.