Jane Byrne Interchange

Project Details:

Owner: Illinois Department of Transportation
General Contractor: Lorig Construction Company
Duration of Work: 4 weeks
Subsurface Conditions: Soft to very soft clay underlying surficial stiff loam fill. A layer of very stiff clay existed below this layer, overtop of dense glacial til.
Approximate Key Quantities: 126 stone columns

Project Overview:

The Jane Byrne Interchange (formerly the Circle Interchange) is a major freeway interchange near downtown Chicago. Opened in the 1960s, it is the junction between Interstate 90/Interstate 94, Interstate I-290 and Ida B.Wells Drive. In a dedication ceremony in August 2014, the interchange was renamed in honor of former Chicago Mayor Jane M. Byrne. Notorious for its traffic issues, it was rated as the country’s third-worst traffic bottleneck, with drivers of approximately 300,000 vehicles daily losing a combined 25 million hours each year. Beginning in 2013, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) began a methodical process of reconstruction involving 35 separate contracts spread over nine years. One of the contracts involved the relocation of various ramps and the placement of new fill to form these embankments. To save space in the congested interchange, Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) walls were utilized to retain this fill, rather than slopes.

Due to the compressible nature of the soils at the site, Menard USA was contracted to install stone columns to support the two, 25-ft tall MSE walls.

Ground Conditions:

The soil profile consisted of several ft of surficial stiff loam fill. Underlying this layer was a thick layer of primarily soft to very soft clay as deep as 45 ft. A layer of very stiff clay existed below this layer, overtop of dense glacial till, known as the Chicago hardpan layer.


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