Proj Overview

Project Overview

Joliet, Illinois, is the end of the line for two routes of Chicago’s commuter train system. To reduce passenger/freight train conflicts, the downtown station was upgraded into a multi-modal regional transportation center.

One important element was to replace a 104-year-old vehicle and pedestrian underpass with a pedestrian-only tunnel from parking areas to the station without interfering with daily commuter traffic.

Precast Solution

Twelve 8-ft-long ARCHCAST® structures were used to create a 96 ft pedestrian tunnel. These were pulled under the existing passageway with Hillman rollers and a winch, guided by C-shaped channels built on the concrete footing.

Precast head and wing walls were installed at the ends. A formliner was used to give the surfaces a stone wall look. After curing, these were stained a warm tone. Controlled low strength fill (500 PSI), was pumped between the existing abutment walls and the new arch walls. Finally, the existing bridge was torn out and filled with ballast and the tracks were reinstalled.


There are no records.
Project Team


Union Pacific Railroad, Omaha, Nebr.
BNSF Railroad, Fort Worth, Tex. 

Precast Producer

County Materials Corp., Marathon, Wisc.

Architect and Engineer of Record

Knight Engineers & Architects, Tinley Park, Ill. 

General Contractor

Ragnar Benson Construction, Chicago, Ill. 

Key Project Attributes

  • 104-year-old bridge/underpass replaced with a pedestrian-only tunnel
  • Tunnel provides safe access to station platforms from parking areas
  • Pedestrians no longer have to share space with vehicular traffic
  • Rail lines transport 1,400 passengers each day

Project/Precast Scope

  • Each arched, precast concrete bridge sections weighed 48,000 pounds
  • The ARCHCAST® sections have a 16 ft span and 11 ft rise.
  • Arched shape was well suited to the aesthetic requirements of the project
  • Stone look of the precast end walls integrates visually with other aspects of the project renovation
  • Low strength concrete between walls contains a large amount of sand with little cement so as to flow well without compaction