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Drilling Complete On Tunnel From Temple To Conference Center Parking Lot

An exterior view of the tunnel under North Temple street. (Used by permission, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Crews have finished digging a tunnel to connect a new underground temple entrance to the Conference Center parking lot at Temple Square.

Plans for removing the existing concrete wall that leads into the parking lot were planned for later. The project was part of the multi-year renovation project for the Salt Lake Temple.

Officials from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a video Wednesday to show how crews dug out the 180-foot-long tunnel that runs 20 feet underneath North Temple street.

The video included interviews with a number of people in charge of the project.

Project superintendent Michael Conner said the soil they dug through was unstable.

“It consists of mostly cobble and sand and it’s not cemented together very well. It’s very loose. If you went up to the face, you would realize if you went up and scratched it as the ground starts caving in,” he said. “There’s nothing locking it in place.”

Crews cut away four feet at a time using a specially designed drill bit that created a curved profile inside the tunnel.

The tunnel walls were sprayed with a concrete mixture and the walls themselves were reinforced with rebar arches to keep them stable, officials said. Plans also called for another 10-inch thick lining to add additional support.

Crews continued with progress on other work that included shoring up the temple in case of an earthquake and removing capstones for restoration and then putting them back into place.

The extensive renovations should be done in 2024.

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