Jerusalem, like any growing city, has increasing needs for water, power, and land, but unlike most cities, Jerusalem is the focal point for three of the world’s major religions. In this city of antiquity, balancing urban growth with natural and historical beauty is a continuing challenge.
One such challenge came with the construction of the Even Sapir power station. Built on a mountain slope overlooking Jerusalem, the plant pro vides the city with needed electricity. Unfortunately, the quarrying and construction necessary to create the facility left the site devoid of vegetation. The site needed to be restored to a more natural vegetative state, but its steep 33° to 35° slopes presented unique engineering problems.
The slope’s base was composed of limestone, covered by hard clay. Topsoil would need to be spread over the slope for vegetation to grow and thrive. Engineers were concerned about this procedure since applying unconfined layers of soil to a steep slope is difficult, and unconfined soils on steep slopes are highly erodible. The self-weight of the soil veneer could cause the material to migrate to the base of the slope.