Lake Shore Drive Emergency Bridge Repair

Chicago Department of Transportation | Chicago, IL
emergency bridge repair

DuSable Lake Shore Drive is a heavily traveled arterial in the heart of downtown Chicago. In 2019, electricians with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) noted a beam crack within the south approach to the Chicago River crossing. Upon further investigation, it was determined that several shiplap beam joints had failed, causing a significant elevation difference in the deck. The structure was immediately closed to traffic.

As leading partner of the joint venture Chicago Bridge Inspection Team (CBIT) in charge of inspection services for the City’s entire bridge inventory, Benesch was mobilized to the site within minutes of notification. It was determined that shoring towers with jacks would be required to support the compromised beams and return the bridge deck to its original elevation until beam repairs could be performed. Shoring towers were installed overnight, and the bridge was reopened to traffic the day after the failure was identified.

CBIT’s work was just beginning when traffic was restored on DuSable Lake Shore Drive. The team immediately began performing a hands-on inspection of the failed shiplap location, as well as the 75 additional shiplap locations at 11 expansion joints within the approach structures. Multiple inspection teams worked simultaneously to complete the inspection through challenging winter conditions. The inspectors notified CDOT of several additional locations needing immediate shoring and repair.

CBIT developed an initial repair solution for the failed shiplap location that was shared with CDOT the night of the failure. Over the course of the next two days, CDOT and CBIT worked together to finalize the design. The failed joint – along with additional locations identified for repair in the supplemental inspections – were addressed within weeks.

Through the close collaboration between CDOT, CBIT and the Contractor, the DuSable Lake Shore Drive south approach structure was quickly and safely reopened to traffic while delivering a significant bridge repair on an accelerated schedule.

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