Chicago selects construction firm for first three blocks of Riverwalk
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Chicago selects construction firm for first three blocks of Riverwalk

10 Nov 2013

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has selected Walsh Construction Company II to build the first three blocks of the Chicago Riverwalk, from State Street to LaSalle Street in the US.

Chicago Riverwalk

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has selected Walsh Construction Company II to build the first three blocks of the Chicago Riverwalk from State Street to LaSalle Street in the US.

The Chicago Riverwalk is an open, pedestrian waterfront located on the south bank of the Chicago River in Illinois.

CDOT said Walsh Construction’s bid of $43m was the lowest of two bids submitted to the city earlier in 2013 and was more than 10% lower than the bid from F.H. Paschen /S.N. Nielsen & Associates of $47.5m.

The Riverwalk design plans include the construction of six blocks from State Street west to Lake Street.

The blocks include the Marina, from State to Dearborn; the Cove, from Dearborn to Clark; the River Theater, from Clark to LaSalle; the Swimming Hole, from LaSalle to Wells; the Jetty, from Wells to Franklin; and the Boardwalk, from Franklin to Lake.

After completion, the Marina will feature restaurant retail space and public seating while the River Theater will serve as the location for vertical access between Upper Wacker and the Riverwalk level.

The Cove is planned to accommodate kayak rental retail space and allow for human-powered watercraft to dock, while the Swimming Hole will be used for recreation.

The Jetty is a location for learning about the ecology of the river, with floating gardens and piers for fishing, while the Boardwalk will be the site of a bridge bringing people from Upper Wacker down to the Riverwalk level.

Walsh Construction’s contract also includes a 25ft extension from the current configuration into the river and connections under each bridge.

The project is expected to start soon, with the first three blocks planned to be completed by the end of 2014.

A second construction bid process will start in early 2014 for the remaining three blocks of the project from LaSalle to Lake Street.

The bridges over the river establish a boundary between each block, which allow for each to have a unique identity and landscaping. Each block will be linked by the continuous walkway along the river, beneath each bridge.

The US Department of Transportation has recently provided the city with a $100m federal loan to complete the riverwalk via the agency’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act programme.


Image: The Riverwalk as seen from Upper Wacker Drive looking down at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Photo: Courtesy of ZephyrsDream.