Heavy Civil Projects

We’ve seen expectations rise in the heavy highway and bridge construction industries as constrained public works budgets force owners to try to do more with less. We’re confident that we can live up to high expectations, and we have the track record to prove it. We excel at challenging projects that are heavily schedule-driven, involve complex logistical and coordination constraints, and require particular emphasis on safety and quality control. Our deep partnerships with our subcontractors allow us to meet diversity targets while still achieving consistent quality and execution across every job that we do.

Our Roads & Bridges Experience

41st Street Pedestrian Bridge Over South Lake Shore Drive

Chicago, IL

The 41st Street bike and pedestrian bridge provides Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood direct access to the lakefront and specifically the Oakwood/41st Street beach. The 1,350-foot-long structure is highlighted by its two center spans which carry pedestrians over six commuter rail lines and northbound and southbound Lake Shore Drive. Each span of bridge deck stretches 240 feet and each are supported by single 48″ diameter steel tube arches. The bridge deck and associated superstructure steel is connected to the arches via 11 2-inch diameter structure cable strands.

Work involved construction over Metra and CN railroads and South Lake Shore Drive, which included the installation of retaining walls; removal and reconstruction of pedestrian paths, bike trails and sidewalks; roadway lighting relocation; and furnishing and installing lighting on the bridge structure. Metra power and communication lines were relocated; and disturbed park areas were restored.

Client: Chicago Department of Transportation
Value: $28,700,000
Delivery Method: Design/Bid/Build



  • 2019 – Structural Engineers Association of Illinois (SEAOI) – Excellence in Structural Engineering – Best Project
  • 2019 – American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement $10-35 million
  • 2019 – National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA) – Excellence in Structural Engineering
  • 2019 – Road & Bridges – #3 Bridge Project of 2019
  • 2019 – Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) – Chicago Chapter Achievement Award
  • 2019 – Construction Management Association of American (CMAA) – National Award – Transportation: Construction less than $50 million
  • 2019 – ENR – Best of the Midwest Project Award, Landscape and Urban Development
  • 2019 – Chicago Building Congress – Merit Award Winner
  • 2018 – Chicago Department of Transportation (IRTBA) – Contractor of the Year
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Wells-Wentworth Connector

Chicago, IL

The Wells-Wentworth Connector is a multi-phase project that will create a new road between the Loop and Chinatown.

The project will also realign Wentworth Ave. between Archer and Cermak to bring this portion of Wentworth in line with the portion of Wentworth south of Cermak Rd. The realignment of Wentworth Ave. will greatly improve safety for both motorists and pedestrians while forming better links between New Chinatown Square and the traditional Chinatown south of Cermak Road.

Most recently F.H. Paschen completed one of two bridges on the project. The completed bridge was originally built in 1930 and replaced with a new bridge that was 79’ by 40’, with over 845,000 lbs of steel and was completed six days ahead of schedule. The construction of the second bridge will begin later this year.

Client: Chicago Department of Transportation
Delivery Method: Design/Bid/Build

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Barrington Road Pedestrian Bridge and Access Building

Hoffman Estates, IL

This project consisted of the construction of a Pace Pedestrian Bridge over the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and the construction of the north and south bridge access buildings. The interior of the buildings includes a vestibule, stairwell, mechanical and electrical rooms, and a janitor’s closet. The exterior is comprised of clear anodized aluminum and glass curtain wall system, smooth metal panels, and scored block masonry.

Additional work involved the installation of HVAC equipment to provide required environmental control for the pedestrian bridge and access buildings, installation of elevator equipment to provide handicap accessibility for the pedestrian bridge, and plumbing for the service sinks in each of the buildings.

Electrical work included the installation of new electric service, power distribution system, interior and exterior lighting, and life safety systems for pedestrian bridge and access control buildings.

Client: Illinois State Toll Highway Authority
Value: $7,182,000
Delivery Method: Design/Bid/Build



  • 2019 – American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) – Engineering Excellence Honor Award
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Western Avenue Viaduct over Belmont Avenue

Chicago, IL

We demolished the 52-year-old Western Avenue Viaduct, which extended from south of Barry Avenue north to Roscoe Street. The bridge had fallen into disrepair over the years, and could not be rehabilitated. We reconstructed Western Avenue between the Chicago River bridge and W. Roscoe Street, and resurfaced surrounding portions of Western Avenue and cross streets. We also rebuilt the Chicago River Bridge deck, and installed curbs and gutters, sidewalk and median, sewers, signals, roadway lighting, signage, streetscape elements, and landscaping as part of this high-profile project.

Client: Chicago Department of Transportation
Value: $25,671,467
Delivery Method: Design/Bid/Build

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18th Street Bascule Bridge Rehab

Chicago, IL

The 47-year-old movable bascule bridge, which was built in 1967, was restored with new roadway and sidewalk decks. Repairs were made to the truss, floor beams and lateral bracing and the electrical and navigational lighting were upgraded. Due to the TJ O’Brien lock closures for construction on the Calumet River (another project, unrelated to FHP), the US Coast Guard restricted barge usage at the 18th St. Bridge. We proposed a practical and safe solution which consisted of a contract modification to install a suspended platform system to work from in order to minimize the impact to the schedule. The project contained a critical milestone to ensure the bridge would be operational by April 1st so the movable spans could be lifted to accommodate sail boats re-entering the city’s harbors for the boating season. Paschen and subcontractors completed the milestone two days early, satisfying the client. This project was part of Building a New Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s infrastructure renewal program.

Client: Illinois Department of Transportation
Value: $5,600,000
Delivery Method: Design/Bid/Build

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Lakefront Trail / Navy Pier Flyover Improvement

Chicago, IL

Paschen constructed a portion of the Lakefront Trail, an elevated walkway that spans over Illinois Street and Grand Avenue at the intersection of Lake Shore Drive. 0.31 miles were constructed, and the work consisted of a new superstructure for pedestrian and bicycle traffic use. The project also included new landscaping incorporated with new permeable pavers and a segmental concrete wall. This project gives an entirely new way to access Jane Addams Memorial Park from the Ogden slip without the need to worry about vehicular traffic.

There were a wide range of complexities throughout this project including unsuitable material that is part of the Lindsay Light Streeterville Remediation Superfund. With the project being located just west of Navy Pier, vehicle and pedestrian traffic control was a challenge throughout the duration, especially during the summer months.

Client: Chicago Department of Transportation
Value: $22,500,000
Delivery Method: Design/Bid/Build

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I-290 / Elgin  O’Hare Flyover Bridge

Itasca, IL

This $36 million bridge, one of three contracts that were awarded to Paschen for work on the overall project, which included ramps and pavements. The 2,100-ft long bridge was built over the existing Interstate I-290 (westbound and eastbound). The project was part of ongoing work to build a new I-290 Interchange at Illinois Route 390. The flyover ramp bridge was built in three segments and included eight concrete piers with 6 to 8-ft. diameter columns and 54 steel girders to support the new ramps. The bridge’s deck is 49-ft wide (two lanes and wide shoulders on each side) and is 34-ft. above grade at its highest point.

Client: Illinois State Toll Highway Authority
Value: $36,690,000
Delivery Method: Design/Bid/Build

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I-90 Widening & Reconstruction – IL 53 to Arlington Heights Road & Arlington Heights Road to Oakton

Chicago, IL

Paschen was awarded these contracts, $36 million and $32 million respectively, as a combination award for two contiguous contracts stretching over 5.3 miles of the heavily traveled I-90 tollway corridor through Cook County. The project included the reconstruction of multiple bridges and large cut and cover tunnel drainage structures as well as high-performance concrete pavements designed to be in service for as much as 35 years. Maintenance of traffic on the in-service tolling lanes, as well as the existing state and local roadways impacted by this work, was a major condition associated with the project.

Client: Illinois State Toll Highway Authority
Value: $32,120,000 / $36,600,000
Delivery Method: Design/Bid/Build

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Wacker Drive Reconstruction

Chicago, IL

The project consisted of the construction of a new gateway entrance to the city from the west. Work began with the demolition of existing interchange roadways and Lower Wacker Drive tunnels. Rehabilitation involved extensive foundation work, deck and beam replacement along Congress Parkway. New tunnels from lower Wacker Drive to westbound Congress Parkway and from eastbound Congress Parkway to Wacker Drive/Franklin Street were also included. Wells Street was widened and Van Buren Street was resurfaced between Wells Street and Wacker Drive.

Twenty-four 120’ ground anchors were utilized to reinforce the existing dock walls of this project prior to the removal of Lower Wacker Drive. Existing dock walls were previously held together utilizing the foundation for Lower Wacker Drive. Five separate underground junction chambers were constructed, each requiring an earth retention system which fell in close proximity to existing residential structures and the main cooling plant which provides chilled water to multiple downtown buildings. We also designed and operated two pumping systems used to temporarily maintain existing sewer flows in the main trunk line sewers carrying sewage from the City of Chicago business district.

Of particular interest was the reroute of the existing main sanitary drain (Water Reclamation District Drain) for downtown Chicago utilizing a 14’ diameter tunnel boring machine. The tunneling equipment was assembled underground in pieces, using a Manitowoc 999 275-ton Hydraulic Lattice Boom Crawler Crane to place each portion as it was moved into the shaft. The first leg installation included tunneling within 10’ of the subway tunnel providing service to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. All this was done under Congress Parkway, the main vehicular artery into downtown. Daily settlement and vibration monitoring occurred to ensure these vital arteries were not affected by the project. The process on the second leg proceeded in the same fashion.

Client: Chicago Department of Transportation
Value: $81,810,000
Delivery Method: Design/Bid/Build



  • 2014 – American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) – Grand Conceptor Award
  • 2013 – Chicago Department of Transportation (IRTBA) – Outstanding Structural Contractor of the Year
  • 2013 – ENR Midwest – Best Project – Highway / Bridges
  • 2013 – Chicago Building Congress – Merit Award Finalist
  • 2012 – Chicago Department of Transportation (IRTBA) – Outstanding Contractor of the Year
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Heavy rail work requires a thorough understanding of the rules and regulations that govern railways. Regardless of any other considerations, trains have to keep running on time and on schedule. Our broad value engineering experience allows us to balance cost effectiveness with scheduling and safety considerations, and to plan in fine-grained detail to minimize disruptions and manage risk. Furthermore, our construction expertise ensures our clients can be confident our work will have the 100+ year longevity they desire.

Our Rail Experience

Bridge 47C Reconstruction

Dixmoor, IL

Due to the aging infrastructure of the bridge, Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad (IHB) wanted to upgrade and replace the three independent, wooden railroad bridges over Thornton Road in Dixmoor. The three structures holding the individual tracks were replaced with a single concrete structure supporting all three tracks. Construction was performed in phases to maintain train traffic at all times. The new structure maintained the existing elevation to match the track on both sides. To eliminate a low clearance route, Thornton Road was lowered approximately 5’.

The project overcame multiple utility conflicts and still opened the new bridge to train traffic in early November 2017. Thornton Road will open to roadway traffic as scheduled in late December 2017.

Client: Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad
Value: $5,033,000
Delivery Method: Unit Price

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Norfolk Southern Railroad over Cottage Grove Ave.

Chicago, IL

A portion of the NSRR railroad bridge over South Cottage Grove Avenue, just south of 71st Street, had fallen into disrepair and was in need of rehabilitation. To facilitate the work on this structure, partial road closures will be utilized. These partial closures will involve the closure and detour routing of one direction of traffic at a time on south Cottage Grove Ave. between 71st St. and 72nd St. Work will be coordinated with other CDOT projects being performed in the area so as not to conflict with traffic patterns.

A portion of the stone ballast on top of the bridge along with a portion of the concrete deck at track level is being replaced. This will be followed by the removal and replacement of a portion of the steel superstructure, including the south main girder, cross girders and columns on the southwest corner of the structure, and roadway and floor beam replacements on the southern half of the bridge. Concrete column protection and center bent crashwall concrete construction will then be installed at street level. The project will culminate with installation of track level handrail at the south end of the bridge.

Client: Norfolk Southern Corporation
Value: $2,525,000
Delivery Method: Unit Price

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71st Street Underpass Rehab

Chicago, IL

71st Street was closed west of Cottage Grove Ave. to facilitate the reconstruction of the railroad bridge, which had fallen into disrepair. A temporary shoring system was installed to support the main bridge members allowing work to safely proceed on the bridge.

  • Removal and replacement of all structural steel support columns and main cross girders at all bents (north curbline, south curbline and middle of the roadway)
  • Reconstruction of all column foundation bases at the roadway level
  • Removal and reconstruction of the crashwall protection at the center bent at roadway level
  • Full enclosure and containment of the existing bridge for lead paint abatement, removal of existing paint coatings and repainting of the entire structure
  • Removal and replacement of portions of the north and south abutments
  • Installation of concrete column protection and center bent crashwall concrete construction at street level
  • Temporary relocation and replacement of underpass lighting utility
  • Removal and replacement of track level handrail at the east and west sides of the bridge

Client: Norfolk Southern Corporation
Value: $1,606,778
Delivery Method: Unit Price

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Union Pacific Railroad-Irving Park Road

Chicago, IL

The project, located at O’Hare International Airport in the City of Chicago, was a grade separation at Irving Park Road consisting of a new railroad bridge over an existing roadway for the re-aligned Union Pacific Railroad. The structure work included excavation, steel piles, reinforced concrete and structural steel. The rail work included site demolition, earth excavation/embankment, temporary and permanent erosion control, drainage, duct bank placement, and sub-ballast placement. Drainage work required a new culvert under the UPRR embankment and Bensenville ditch channel rerouting. Roadway work included reconstruction, widening, resurfacing, pavement markings, storm sewer, temp drainage, erosion control, duct bank placement and temporary maintenance of traffic.

Client: O’Hare Modernization Program
Value: $11,100,000
Delivery Method: Design/Bid/Build

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Halsted Street Bridge W3.34 Replacement

Chicago, IL

This project involved the removal and replacement of three railroad bridges over Halsted St. Columns underneath the bridges were replaced first, followed by the removal and replacement of the bridge structures. Done in 16-hour coordinated shutdowns, the bridges were demolished, backwalls excavated and replaced on fast setting grout with new precast walls, and new bridge structures installed.

Client: CN Railroad
Value: $2,500,000
Delivery Method: Design/Bid/Build

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