Federal Courthouse: Urban Tree Structural Soil

by Scott Jenson, Utelite Corporation

Salt Lake City’s new federal courthouse is a 410,000 square foot, 10-story cubic glass building located on the corner of 400 South and West Temple. It contains 10 court rooms, 14 judges chambers, 2 underground parking structures, the U.S. Marshals Office, the U.S. Probation Office and a records library.

Structural soil was installed under the concrete to encourage future expansion and establishment of tree roots. The structural soil consisted of coarse (½” to ¾”) expanded shale aggregate mixed with clay loam topsoil. Topsoil amended with expanded shale fines and compost was used to fill large tree pits to ensure long-term establishment. Additionally, a lightweight planting media consisting of expanded shale fines, sand and compost was used for the turf areas over the subterranean parking structure and extensive green roof.

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