IL 83/US 6 over Little Calumet River


Other Consultants:Structure Designs, Inc., Geo Services, Inc.

Owner:Illinois Department of Transportation

Description:The IL 83 Bridge over the Little Calumet River was originally built in 1923 and had widening and super-structure replacements in 1962 and 1984. The existing bridge’s superstructure was showing cracks and had many patched areas that suggested deterioration would accelerate quickly. Since the bridge was being rehabilitated, it also needed to be widened to meet current deck width requirements.

IDOT wanted to (1) create a wider, more traffic friendly roadway, (2) improve the pedestrian path on the bridge, and (3) successfully navigate subsurface issues surrounding the original structure.

Early in the design process, the engineers learned that there was a significant amount of slag in the area surrounding the bridge. The project team successfully dealt with the myriad of issues generated by its presence and were able to design a replacement structure that not only met current needs, but also accommodated future expansion in order to not impact the waterway another time. This was a benefit to IDOT as it means any future expansions will be both cost effective and time efficient.

The IL 83 bridge project added an upgraded 12-foot multi-use path. The path incorporated a safety railing between the pedestrian path and traffic lanes, making it significantly safer for walkers and cyclists.

In addition, the new path doubled in width from 6 feet to 12 feet and includes pedestrian signals at adjacent intersections.

Lastly, the bridge was replaced with a modern, wider structure capable of accommodating the heavy traffic flow generated by shoppers and commuters. The design required unique abutments and creative pile driving. GRAEF eliminated the expansion joints by using semi-integral abutments, a design more commonly used to retrofit existing bridges.

IDOT’s primary goals were successfully met on the IL 83 project. A wider, more traffic friendly bridge was constructed, an improved pedestrian path was added to the structure, and the tricky subsurface issues were successfully navigated.

The presence of slag could have been a nightmare during construction. But the cooperative plan developed by the design team, the contractor, and IDOT allowed the pile driving and placement process to go smoothly and without any unexpected surprises.

Creative thinking in all aspects of the design resulted in a highly successful project that allows better traffic flow, safer pedestrian spaces, and future expansion possibilities.

Illinois Department of Transportation

        WSP Logo