Fox River Bridge Receives Illinois ACEC Eminent Conceptor Award

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Novel bridge-under-bridge design by Stanley Consultants allowed six lanes of traffic on Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) during construction

Innovative "bridge under bridge" design permitted the new bridge to be constructed under the old bridge with impact to traffic.

“The I-90 Fox River Bridge demonstrates how using innovative bridge design and construction methods allowed us to complete a crucial project while still offering the same level of access to our customers.” Illinois Tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov

The new Fox River Bridge won the coveted Eminent Conceptor Award in the Engineering Excellence Awards competition sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Illinois. The annual competition recognizes engineering projects that demonstrate an exceptional degree of innovation, complexity, achievement, and value.

Located on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) in Elgin, Illinois, the bridge replacement project is one of eight Illinois projects to receive a top level Honor Award and be considered for the organization’s highest award. The announcement that the Fox River Bridge won the premier award was made to a sold-out crowd at the ACEC Illinois’ annual Awards Luncheon in mid-February.

The $95 million bridge replacement project is one of the Illinois Tollway’s largest single contract awards in the $2.5 billion Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) Rebuilding and Widening Project between Rockford and O’Hare International Airport. The project was designed by Stanley Consultants, a global consulting engineering firm, with construction management provided by Chastain/Thomas JV and construction by Kenny/Kraemer JV.

Two unusual design and construction methods were used to remove the aging six-lane twin bridge and build a new eight-lane twin bridge in the same location, while simultaneously keeping six lanes of traffic open. The substructure of the new bridge – footings and piers – was constructed underneath the existing bridge while it remained in service. This innovative bridge-under-bridge design was possible because the beams used in the new bridge deck are much longer and deeper than the previous beams.

A gantry system was used to place the massive 200,000-pound deck beams, alleviating the need to position a large crane close to the rare forested fen located adjacent to the bridge.

“The I-90 Fox River Bridge demonstrates how using an innovative bridge design and construction methods allowed us to complete a crucial project while still offering the same level of access to our customers,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov. “The new bridge provides significant benefits to local communities by protecting the river and nearby environmentally sensitive areas from stormwater runoff and other traffic impacts, which is part of the Tollway’s emphasis on green design and construction. We are honored that this work by our staff and the firms that partnered with us is being recognized with this prestigious award.”

Using longer, deeper beams reduced the number of piers and expansion joints in the bridge, which lowers future maintenance costs and increases its lifespan. Combined with the use of stainless steel deck reinforcement, the new bridge is expected to have a service life of between 75 to 100 years.

The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 292 miles of interstate tollways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90), the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80) and the Illinois Route 390 Tollway.

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Stanley Consultants provides program management, planning, engineering, environmental and construction services worldwide. Recognized for its commitment to client service and a passion to make a difference, Stanley Consultants brings global knowledge, experience and capabilities to serve clients in the energy, water, transportation and Federal markets. Since 1913, Stanley Consultants has successfully completed more than 25,000 engagements in all 50 states, U.S. territories, and in 110 countries. For more information on Stanley Consultants, please visit http://www.stanleyconsultants.com.

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Mary Jo Finchum
Stanley Consultants
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