This project took place in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, and was an ambitious redevelopment job. Our teams demolished several existing structures prior to the construction of two large buildings: a distribution center for consumer products and an eCommerce fulfillment facility.
The soil conditions on this project presented some unexpected challenges. Much of the material on the site had remnant debris from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, so we had to deal with old fill consisting of brick and cinder remnants. In addition, there were many antiquated concrete foundations buried throughout the site. A major objective of this job was to reuse as much of this material as possible, so we processed, separated, dried, and recompacted these materials on-site.
These conditions had an impact on our mass earthwork efforts as well. Once we got the building pads to subgrade, we had to use dynamic compaction techniques that involved repeatedly dropping a heavy weight to create stress waves and add density to the soil. The Pullman job site also had some water pockets that left portions of soil extremely saturated. To mitigate this issue, we used cement modification, adding cement to the soil to dry it out and increase its strength.
We also had some ambitious environmental aims on this job, as the green spaces on the site needed an environmental barrier due to the redevelopment nature of the project. Therefore, we laid a geotextile fabric on top of the subgrade, then added 18” of clean soil and 6” of clean topsoil, in accordance with Illinois EPA regulations. This barrier allowed for new vegetation to be planted throughout the site.
All told, Witech performed 260,000 CY of earthwork, 310,000 SY of chemical cement modification, 575,000 SY of fine grading, and 35,000 tons of aggregate placement. We also placed 100,000 SY of geotextile environmental barrier, with 50,000 CY of clean fill and 20,000 CY of clean topsoil. Our client was very pleased with our efforts, and the Pullman community is now significantly revitalized. The primary goal of this project was to turn abandoned buildings into a thriving, state-of-the-art industrial development. In doing so, we created new economic opportunities in the once-thriving Pullman neighborhood.