TranSystems Puts Together an Award-Winning Construction Project Team that has Proved Successful Time and Time Again in Chicago

41st Street Pedestrian
ACEC 2014 Spring Conference

At the beginning of the 2000s, TranSystems began working with the Chicago Department of Transportation on a variety of projects, starting with construction observance on the Milwaukee Avenue Viaduct Bridge over Kennedy Expressway. Fast forward 20 years to the recent success of Chicago’s 41st Street Pedestrian Arch Bridge over Lake Shore Drive, and it’s clear that a special team was formed through this unique partnership that started decades ago.

A Look Back at How It All Began
After successfully completing the construction observance work, TranSystems took on a program management services role for the $101 million CDOT’s Expressway Viaduct Replacement Program of 22 bridges. The viaduct is owned by the Illinois Department of Transportation, but through an agreement, CDOT managed the program. This role would turn into a 10-year contract with the City. At the same time, we were selected by CDOT to develop and manage their QC/QA program for the inspection and management for all materials, which TranSystems still manages today, and led to higher profile projects within Chicago.

Reconstruction of Chicago’s Wacker Drive Earns the Team National Recognition
With more than a decade of working together and turning out one successful project after another, it wasn’t until 2010 that the team would truly be tested on one of the most complicated projects ever completed by the City. TranSystems was selected by CDOT to perform program manager services for the reconstruction of Wacker Drive and the Congress Parkway Interchange, a $303 million roadway and bridge project that required complex staging to keep 60,000 vehicles and a staggering 150,000 pedestrians moving through the construction zone. Additionally, because Wacker Drive also abuts major offices and skyscrapers including the Willis Tower, daily access for workers and deliveries had to be accommodated. Wacker Drive’s proximity to the Chicago River and the two primary downtown commuter stations created additional challenges. The project was completed on time and on budget, and earned many awards, including a national American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) 2014 Grand Conceptor Award – one of the most prestigious awards given in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.

Winning Team Delivers First of Its Kind Park in Chicago
While the reconstruction of Wacker Drive and the Congress Parkway Interchange was successfully completed, it was the construction management team that stole the spotlight. A solid group of individuals that really complimented each other emerged during the project, so much so, that they’re still taking on projects as a team to this day.

Just three years later, this team would move on to work on another high-profile CDOT project, Bloomingdale Trail and Park (The 606). TranSystems was selected by CDOT to provide Phase III construction management services for the multi-use linear park that is the first of its kind in Chicago. Stretching 2.7 miles through four vibrant Chicago northwest side neighborhoods, the conversion of the elevated Bloomingdale Line into a trail and park provides unprecedented connections to and among these communities.

The TranSystems construction management team was responsible for the overall construction inspection, project documentation, layout verification and project coordination. The project earned a 2016 ACEC-IL Honor Award and went on to earn a 2016 ACEC-National Grand Award, making it another huge success.

Numerous Successes on Chicago’s 41st Street Pedestrian Arch Bridge
The most recent project the team has taken on is construction management services for Phase III of Chicago’s 41st Street Pedestrian Arch Bridge over Lake Shore Drive, a 1,500-foot-long curving blue metal structure comprised of two 240-foot-long main span inclined arch structures on a reverse curve alignment. Services included the installation of the double curved arch mono-truss tube structures with reinforced concrete deck, arch foundation and lateral supporting columns on deep foundation, architectural elements, lakefront pathway resurfacing and reconstruction, and new lighting within the project limits. Also included in the project was the installation of new and adjustment of existing drainage structures, the temporary relocation and reconnection of Metra AC electric overhead wires, restoration of existing landscaping and protection of existing trees, and landscaping.

The bridge increases lakefront access on the south side of Chicago and is fully up to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, with ramps to accommodate bicycles, wheel chairs and emergency vehicles.

While this pedestrian bridge proved to be a very complex project, it was completed six months early and on budget, and has received numerous awards including Engineering News-Record’s Project of the Year and the ACEC-IL 2020 Grand Conceptor Award.

These projects are just a few out of the many that this special construction management team has successfully completed for the city of Chicago, and proof that they’re only just getting started.

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