Thursday, June 27, 2013

Burning the Midnight Oil

Jacobsen crews have worked into the wee hours the last two weeks.  This morning a concrete pump arrived at the site at 3:30, greeted by crews who had worked all night.
The Lego men are working at night for several reasons -- 1: it's cooler than the 100 degrees it's been reaching during the day.  2: the crane isn't awake to boss them around.
This morning's pour filled part of the second lift on the south side.  (I'm pleased with my new construction vocabulary and feel a need to use it.)  The first level of the foundation appears to have been poured all the way around.  You can see the gap where the third lift will be.
Yesterday a concrete pump poured around the base of the annex elevator shaft.  Some of these photos were captured from the construction cam.
Another pump arrived this morning to continue filling the gully.  Notice the wooden form near the nose of the pump.  That's where the concrete stopped.  It will be easier for the Lego men to work in this area with concrete under their feet instead of dirt.
This exterior cement is not the same high quality as the concrete used in the foundation walls.  Junior Red Ladder found it to be a cool place to hide out of sight from Mommy Ladder.  Notice the horizontal rebar at the top of the elevator shaft.  This rebar is the same level as the north lot slab.
The concrete pillars are emerging from their plywood forms.
Mommy Ladder and I are both keeping a close eye on this opening in the north foundation wall, which ultimately will connect the north lot annex to the first level of the basement.  But attention today was focused on the south foundation forms.
The nose of the concrete pump can be seen on the right side of this picture.  I've tried to peek in to see what the Lego guys are building inside the basement, but it's too hard to look in anymore.  I'm sure they are working on the interior form walls.
Pours are really fun to watch.
 I'm not sure these workmen were having as good a time as I was.
Junior Front End Loader was having a blast, though, off in the south lot stirring up dirt and making lots of noise.
Daddy Track Hoe continues to work very hard.  Some times it appears his mountain of dirt is growing.
And then again, maybe it's not.
The level of the west lot is starting to even out with the south.  Last week we could see a path in the dirt showing the entrance, but this week the extra dirt is gone.  Perhaps you are wondering what all the white boxes are in this photo.  I hope I find someone to ask about this.
This machine puts tie-backs in place and is working where the Roberts Hotel foundation was.  Nicholson Engineering is almost finished securing the barrier walls.  Nicholson is currently working on another project which involves placing piers under a castle in Europe.  Yes, I'm trying to learn more.
Mr. Dashing Track Hoe gently dropped gravel in place in this far corner of the west lot.  Notice the framed north wall in this area.  The other side of the wall is the entrance to Nu Skin's underground garage from Center Street.
The two tower caps continue to receive attention, always a relief to see.  Notice the fence around the slump in the new slab on the west lot.
A green connecting pipe from the slump between the slab and the west porch can easily be seen in this picture.  This is part of the drainage system for the west side underground parking.
I noticed a new sign on the construction wall today.  A free 5K run is being organized for Pioneer Day
A 5K run between Provo's two temples -- what a great, new tradition!
I believe the tabernacle is enjoying all the attention. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

New Foundation Walls and the Old Bell Tower

I learned a piece of historical trivia I want to share.  This tabernacle you are seeing now was not the first tabernacle in Provo.  In this spot, just north of the center of everyone's attention, was an earlier tabernacle.  It was built in 1856 and for some time these two tabernacles co-existed.
The earlier tabernacle was often called the old meetinghouse.  It was torn down in 1919.  What was interesting for me to learn was that this original tabernacle had an enclosed bell tower.
The tabernacle which we now know and recognize was completed in 1898.  This picture was taken from the location of the current Nu Skin building.  This second tabernacle had a center tower, but it was not a bell tower.  That tower began to sink into the roof and was removed about 1917.  The plans for the new temple do not call for a bell.  The center tower will be replaced and topped with an Angel Moroni.
The bell from the original tabernacle is now used as BYU's victory bell and hangs at the southwest corner of the Marriott Center.
The remains of the foundation walls from the old Roberts Hotel are now gone.  Nicholsen Engineering pounded in I-beams today, shaking my fillings as I took pictures.  They will likely complete this last portion of the barrier wall this week.  Notice the white pipe along the left of this photo, above the barrier wall.  This is part of a drainage system which is currently moving the water table from the site to the city's storm system.
Mr. Track Hoe worked at the south end.  He still has a lot of work to do in removing the dirt so construction of the underground parking lot can begin.
Mr. Crane worked hard today, too.  He was busy moving a lot of rebar and equipment to the east side.
The east side is getting some serious attention.  The foundation forms are moving around to that side of the building.  If you look closely, you can see the red crane block in the upper right-hand side of the photo.  Perspective is very flat in this picture, but you are seeing from the south of the tabernacle clear to the back of the north lot annex.  Notice the east side of the annex wall which has been poured and cleared of forms.  This wall is accessible so it can be covered with the membrane which will protect it from the water table.
This 3:30 pm photo from the construction cam shows that the elevator area at the base of the northeast tower, the west side of the north foundation wall, and the west end of the south porch are also being covered with this membrane.  You can see more of the temporary white drainage pipes along the top of the east barrier wall, and along the wall which backs up against the post office parking lot on the right side of this photo.  This membrane, plus the cutoff walls which were trenched in January, will keep the new temple dry.  This cam photo also shows a slab in the west lot, on the lower right side of this photo, which was poured this morning.
The concrete pillars are being poured as they are formed.  They will support a roof which will enclose this north annex.  Membrane has already been placed on the slab supporting the pillars.  The membrane is actually between two slabs which were poured several weeks ago.
The north foundation wall is getting some interesting work.  This will be an entrance from the annex into the first basement level of the temple.
The new west slab can be seen again in this photo.  The floor of the mechanical tunnel, which got a slab last week, is being covered with rebar in preparation for another pour.  The gully between the north annex slab and the tabernacle will be filled in with dirt once work on the foundation walls is finished.  Notice the green pipe extending horizontally across the center of this picture.
That green drainage pipe, unseen in this picture, extends along the east wall of this new slab and likely facilitates drainage from the slump in the slab.
The green drainage pipe can barely be seen along the left edge of this photo.  Notice the gap between that west slab, which ends at the cutoff wall along the vertical I-beams, and the foundation wall of the west porch.  This foundation wall must be accessible so the black membrane can be applied here, too.  Nu Skin is using wells to continually pump the water from their site.  The LDS Church opted to use this membrane to protect the new temple from the aquifer.
This south view of the basement shows the first level, or lift, of the foundation wall on this side.  The discoloration on the upper forms is evidence that they are being reused.
Here's a view of that same area from the post office lot.  The last level will be poured under pressure.  Then the 6.8 million pounds of the tabernacle shell will be transferred from the supporting I-beams on top of the piers to the new foundation walls.  
This picture is the only glimpse I could get of the interior of the basement.  The opening between the forms will be the entrance to the temple from the underground garage.
The rebar and forms along the western half of the south face will be part of a long set of exterior stairs from the very lowest level of the basement to the first basement level. 
This view of the south lot shows the new construction entrance.  Ultimately, a south entrance to the underground parking garage will be there.  The former construction entrance was where the pile driver is.  Notice the level of dirt which still needs to be excavated.  
The top of the west entrance to the underground parking garage was poured this morning.  Mrs. Track Hoe and Baby Front End Loader were solving a minor problem and were gone by the time I arrived on the west side.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Old and New

Another concrete pump visited the site today and added to the north foundation wall.  He also filled some of the rebar trees and poured the floor of the mechanical tunnel.  You can see that part of the west lot foundation is being readied for a slab, but there aren't forms yet.
This north lot is transforming into an annex which will house dressing rooms and a beautiful area for brides.
Crews worked into the wee hours of the morning the last two nights.  With the light reflecting off their hard hats, they look like little Lego men.  This photo is from the construction cam.
I captured this photo last night -- even Mr. Crane stayed up late.
In the last couple of weeks I have learned a lot about the interior of the new temple.  From this west view, you can see three levels.  There is a second level of the basement below what we see here, but that will generally not be used by patrons.  The first basement level will be vast.  It will ultimately fill the lower third of this picture, from the back wall of the north lot which you can see on the far left, through the tabernacle, on through the south lot to the right which will house underground parking, and toward me in this picture, filling the west lot, also parking.
Patrons can enter at ground level on this south side, but most will likely enter at the lower level, seen in the center of the bottom half of this picture, from the underground parking garage.  Patrons will be able to walk through the lower level into the north annex.  The baptistry will be on this level on the east side of the temple, at the right of this picture.  The ground level will house a chapel that faces north in the center of the building.  Instruction rooms will be on the east side.  Patrons will leave these rooms through spiral staircases in the two east towers.  The Celestial room will be in the the center of the upper level.  Brides, grooms and their families will be able to access sealing rooms on the upper level via spiral staircases in the west towers.  All of the sealing rooms will be double-vaulted and have exterior Gothic windows.  The art glass will follow the style of the original windows.  Remember that only the west gable survived the fire.  The other three will be rebuilt with brick salvaged from the tabernacle.  
What I call the west porch is in the center of this picture.  It will house engineering offices and be the access to the mechanical tunnel.  The blue trench shield north of this area is at the location of the floor of the mechanical tunnel.  All of the area shown in the lower three fourths of this photo, below the orange construction mesh at the ground level of the tabernacle, will be underground.
The trench shields can be seen again in the center of the bottom of this picture.  Pouring the floor of the mechanical tunnel began as I left the site today.
Work continues everywhere on the site.  This view of the east barrier in the south lot shows a fancy fork lift topping off dirt behind the barrier wall.  See the staircase in the background?  That's in the north lot.  This view shows the just a portion of the vast lower level.  You can see part of the north annex concrete wall just to the left of center in this picture.
The upper and lower thirds of the west entrance driveway got concrete this morning.  The final third will be poured tomorrow.  The top of the garage will be poured next week.
The south lot construction entrance on Second South was moved to the west.  You can see it between the jersey barriers on the far right.  Notice the old brick foundation wall on the left side.  Mr. Track Hoe assisted three BYU archaeologists in that spot today. 
I mentioned in an earlier post that this wall was part of the foundation for the old Roberts Hotel.  Deb Harris, one of the archaeologists, pointed out the paint color changes which indicate that a stairwell was on the left.  I am guessing that a basement window was in the center of the wall.
Another foundation wall is perpendicular to the brick wall which has been visible for months.  
It has been underneath the south entrance, continuously pounded by the dump trucks as they entered and exited the site.
Nicholson Engineering, which is shoring up the barrier walls, has waited to finish this part of the barrier until this study could be completed.
Deb kindly took a picture of the foundation wall for me.  The main part of the hotel's foundation was deeper toward the south.  
Mr. Track Hoe uncovered a shallower foundation to the north of the main part of the hotel, indicating an addition.  Deb told me they've found a lot of interesting things.  I hope to follow up on that.
Rebuilding the tower caps is progressing.  I learned that the southwest tower was the most damaged.  If it cannot be repaired, its lumber will be reused in the new structure. 
Excavation continued today even with the entrance change.  I decided to check up on the information I'd been given that the dirt is being taken to the airport.  The Provo airport is about ten minutes from downtown, near Utah Lake, which is lower than the surrounding area.
It was like finding a sacred elephant burial ground.  Enormous!
We are seeing two blocks from downtown Provo.  And the best part?  The truck drivers still waved at me!