Wacker Drive – Michigan Avenue to Randolph Street

Chicago Department of Transportation | Chicago, IL
View of Wacker Drive looking Southeast from across the Chicago River

Originally built in 1926, Wacker Drive is a central thoroughfare that runs through the heart of the “Loop” area in downtown Chicago that more than 50 high-rise buildings depend on to receive deliveries. The $200 million reconstruction of the upper and lower levels of the Wacker Drive Viaduct preserved the architectural tradition and historical elements of the past while meeting the needs of the future.

Extending from Michigan Avenue to Randolph Street, the reconstruction included the cataloguing, removal and reinstallation of the historical limestone and granite facades along the Chicago River; a foundation design that used new caissons in combination with the existing caissons by the use of foundation girders; new substructure and superstructure constructed of high performance concrete and cast-in-place, post-tensioned design.

As construction manager, Benesch was responsible for all cost control, schedule analysis, submittal, shop drawing and RFI review and tracking, and overall consultant oversight for the three separate contracts of the reconstruction.


  • 2003, Outstanding Engineering, Illinois Engineering Council
  • 2003, National Project of the Year, American Public Works Association
  • 2003, Eminent Conceptor Award, American Council of Engineering Companies - Illinois