Construction project underway at water treatment plant in City Creek Canyon

SALT LAKE CITY – A popular recreation area was closed for several hours Friday as construction crews moved a large crane.

City Creek Canyon was blocked off for about two hours beginning at 10 a.m.

The crane will be used to demolish a building at the City Creek water treatment plant.

“The concrete is showing its age, so for safety reasons we are taking the building down,” said Jason Mietchen, the operator of the plant.

The roof of the building, which has stood since 1952, is no longer structurally sound. While the demolition takes place, the facility will still process tap water.

“We are going to treat one side while they are tearing one side down,” Mietchen said. “Then we’ll swap our basins over.”

Much of Salt Lake City’s drinking water originates at the City Creek facility.

“We are running 3 million gallons through our north basin right now,” Mietchen said.

When the work is complete, only the foundation of the building and the equipment inside will remain.

Since the plant is still processing water, workers must treat the demolition process with careful precision.

“This is all shoring, holding the roof up, so when they start the demolition, we don’t have any debris fall in our water that we are still treating,” Mietchen said when describing the thousands of feet of scaffolding inside the building.

The goal of the project is to improve safety for workers at the plant, while still providing Salt Lake City with crystal clear drinking water.

“Salt Lake City Public Utilities is always in the process of maintaining our infrastructure, improving our infrastructure,” said Holly Mullen, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Utilities.

The work is expected to be complete by the end of May. More closures of the canyon are possible as crews move that massive crane.

“We try to keep the closures to a minimum so that people can enjoy the canyon they way they’ve become used to,” Mullen said.