Case Studies

Civiltech Engineering Inc.

Keeping Chicago moving forward for 25 years and counting

From roads to bridges, sewer systems to lighting and traffic signals, Civiltech Engineering Inc. (Civiltech) has helped keep the Chicago area moving for more than 25 years. Since its inception in 1988, Civiltech has earned a reputation as the go-to firm for professional excellence and trusted civil and transportation consulting in the Windy City.

The company provides a full range of transportation and civil engineering services, including construction engineering, environmental and design studies, civil site design, drainage and water resources, structural engineering, as well as appraisal services. Through responsive service and close communication, Civiltech’s multi-disciplinary team develops innovative planning, design and construction solutions that help enhance mobility and quality of life in the region.

Keeping it civil

“My three partners and I founded Civiltech in 1988,” recalls John Breitsameter, president and principal engineer at Civiltech. “We’ve now been in business for 25 years. Our work is mainly transportation-related assignments for the city of Chicago, county DOTs, the Illinois Department of Transportation [IDOT], the Illinois Tollway and municipalities in the greater Chicago area.”

Breitsameter and his partners, one of which is now retired, have grown the company into an 85-employee strong consulting firm with some of the best professionals in the industry from civil engineers to professional traffic operations engineers and structural engineers. Today, Civiltech operates within the six-county Chicago metropolitan area. “Our home base is in Itasca, Ill., and we have two satellite offices,” details Breitsameter. “One office is located in downtown Chicago to serve our largest client.”

Supporting vital infrastructure

From eliminating rail bottlenecks in the suburbs to helping redefine part of Chicago’s most scenic highway, Civiltech is an influential player in improving the region’s transportation system. Breitsameter explains that the Village of Barrington, Ill., turned to Civiltech to help unsnarl the community from railroad delays. “Historically, the village grew and prospered adjacent to two crossing rail lines: the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway [EJ&E] and the Chicago & North Western Railroad [C&NW],” explains Breitsameter. “But today, rail traffic and the accompanying crossing delays threaten the economic prosperity and quality of life in Barrington.”

Breitsameter goes on to note that C&NW was acquired by the Union Pacific (UP) railroad and now carries more than 70 commuter and freight trains per day. “In 2009, the Canadian National [CN] Railway acquired the EJ&E Railway, which now allows CN freight trains to bypass legendary railroad delays in the city of Chicago,” continues Breitsameter. “CN will soon run more than 20 freight trains per day on the line and plans to install a second track to double rail capacity.”

Furthermore, Civiltech helped Barrington secure a federal TIGER grant to launch the engineering and design studies for a grade separation improvement at the CN rail line and U.S. Route 14, also known as Northwest Highway. “U.S. Route 14 is a four-lane strategic regional arterial highway that serves the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, carrying more than 30,000 vehicles per day through the Village of Barrington,” explains Breitsameter. “With Civiltech’s assistance, the village partnered with IDOT to develop a highway underpass improvement that required a more than one-quarter mile long creek relocation, extensive retaining walls and a 180-foot long railroad bridge.”

Breitsameter explains the company’s most interesting project for 2014 entails the first phase study for 7 miles of North Lake Shore Drive. “North Lake Shore Drive makes up the northern third of Chicago’s most scenic highway that has been celebrated in song and in movies,” he continues. “It winds along Chicago’s iconic lakefront through Lincoln Park, which is a 1,200-acre crown jewel of Chicago’s extensive park system that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its origins date from 1860. The North Lake Shore Drive corridor carries more than 160,000 vehicles per day and 69,000 bus riders per day. The parallel Lakefront Trail carries as many as 31,000 pedestrians and bicyclists per day on peak summer weekends past five of Chicago’s most heavily used beaches.”

A leading team

“Civiltech is leading a multi-disciplinary team that will help IDOT, the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Chicago Park District to redefine the drive into a multi-modal facility that will not only meet transportation needs, but will forever enhance this portion of Chicago’s lakefront,” Breitsameter says proudly. “Putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together, our team’s extensive scope of work includes preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement and Combined Design Report, alternatives analyses, roadway design studies, structural design studies for 22 bridges and tunnels, location drainage and hydraulic studies, shoreline and beach studies, interagency coordination and an extensive public outreach program involving seven specialty task force groups and more than a dozen general public meetings and hearings, in addition to website design.”

Civiltech continues to wear many hats on numerous sizable projects throughout America’s third largest city. “We do good work and satisfy clients, so despite the economy we’re busy with repeat business,” shares Breitsameter. “What it comes down to is our people and their performance. All we’ve got is people; we don’t sell products, so it really comes down to our team and the responsive service they provide.”

And the company’s team agrees; Civiltech is an ideal place to work in the Chicago market. The company recently ranked among the Best Engineering Firms to Work For in Illinois by the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers (ISPE). “We’re excited to receive this recognition,” shares Breitsameter. “It’s a tribute to all of the good people we have in our organization.”

For a quarter century, Civiltech Engineering Inc. has kept Chicago buzzing and transportation moving backed by an industry-leading team.

Published on: July 21, 2014

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