Tri-Level Bridge Rehabilitation

Tri-Level Bridge Rehabilitation

Location: Chicago

Client: Illinois Tollway

Completion Date: October 2012

The Illinois Tollway contracted with Burns & McDonnell for the rehabilitation of Tollway Bridge structures 369 and 370, which are the ramps from southbound I-294 to eastbound I-90 and northbound I-294 to westbound I-90. Work on each of the two bridge structures will include:

  • Removal and replacement of all existing concrete beams (192 new PPC beams are being erected)
  • Removal and replacement of existing concrete decks
  • Installation of new expansion joints
  • Installation of new elastomeric bearings
  • Bridge seat modifications to all concrete piers (16 piers per bridge)
  • Structural repair of concrete to concrete piers
  • Wingwall modifications to all four bridge abutments
  • Removal and replacement of existing approach pavements at either ends of the bridge
  • Roadway signing, striping and lighting
  • Construction management

The first bridge to be rehabilitated is the ramp from southbound I-294 to eastbound I-90, which will involve a complete shut-down of the bridge. The ramp should repoen for traffic by Oct. 31, 2011. The project will shut down through March 2012, then the remaining bridge rehabilitation will begin. A single lane of traffic will be maintained across the entire bridge, while the other half of the bridge will be reconstructed. Partway through the construction, traffic will be moved to the newly constructed half of the bridge and crews will reconstruct the other half.


This project is highly complex. The 19-span structure comprises 16 spans of PPC beams and three spans of steel girders. The bridges include super elevated curves and significant horizontal and vertical curves. Access is restricted. The narrow, two-lane structures — flyover ramps connecting interstate to interstate — are highly elevated above grade and do not have full-width shoulders.


The following agencies are involved with this project:

  • Chicago Department of Aviation: The project includes a detour route for the 2011 construction season that includes eastbound and westbound I-190. This route is the major ingress and egress point for O'Hare International Airport. Close coordination was required to avoid impacting the airport's daily operation.
  • Illionois Department of Transportation (IDOT): The detour route uses IDOT routes. IDOT had to be closely involved with the day-to-day operations while setting up the MOT for the detour route. Coordination with IDOT will also be necessary when evaluating the effectiveness and function of the detour route.
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): The elevation of the bridge structures and proximity to O'Hare necessitated an aerial easement from the FAA, limiting the height of construction equipment during this project. Burns & McDonnell was required to monitor the easement during construction.
  • Local agencies: The Village of Rosemont and City of Des Plaines are in the immediate vicinity of the project.
  • Local emergency responders: Routes for responders from the Village of Rosemont, City of Des Plaines and Village of Schiller Park are affected by the MOT closures and restrictions.
  • Adjacent contracts: Affected projects include the Balmoral Ramp to the south, a roadside improvement initiative to the north, and the I-90 Rehabilitation Project (Willow Creek Box Culvert Rehab) to the east.

Unique Understanding

Burns & McDonnell has substantive knowledge of these bridges. In 1999, the company performed the resident engineering construction services for the rehabilitation of both of these flyover bridges. Major scope items included substructure and superstructure patching, structural steel painting and a latex overlay.

  • Critical Artery: Rehab of two bridge/ramp structures carrying 30,000 cars/day each and connecting I-294 to I-90 near O'Hare International Airport 
  • Complex: 19-span structure with super elevated curves and significant horizontal and vertical curves
  • Restricted Access: The narrow two-lane structures are highly elevated above grade and do not have full width shoulders
  • Aerial Easement: The Federal Aviation Administration imposed an aerial easement limiting the height of construction equipment during this project due to the elevation of the bridge structures and proximity to O'Hare Airport