The Column - Feature Articles

Supporting Soft Soils North of the Second City

or How We Installed CMC Rigid Inclusions at IDOT's Quentin Road

What happened when the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) wanted to widen a roadway but encountered extremely soft soil, including organic material? 

Sales Engineer and this summer's MeNERD Jim Naples, Lead Engineer Alex Potter-Weight and Design Engineer Sherry Pirzadeh came up with a cost-effective design to install controlled modulus column (CMC) rigid inclusions on Quentin Road, just north of Chicago, Illinois.

While the $33 million overall project involved expanding a two-mile section from a two-lane road to a five-lane highway, including pedestrian/bike lanes, retaining walls and drainage improvements, Menard's portion of the work focused on two areas between East and West Cuba Roads, each 200 feet long by 50 feet wide - 20,000 square feet total. The idea was to transfer the load of the roadway embankment onto CMC rigid inclusions so the soft soils would not allow that section of the highway to settle.

The CMC rigid inclusions our crew installed extend through the soft soil layers into stiff underlying clay and were tested by applying vertical loads to make sure they could handle required bearing pressures.

Menard's solution was provided early in the project life cycle, which began in 2018. The work on Quentin Road will reduce travel times and traffic congestion and is expected to be completed in Fall 2020.

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