Through the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), the CDA has handled more than 26 million cubic yards of soil – enough to fill the interior of the Willis Tower more than thirteen times!
To reduce hauling, labor, and fuel costs, and to reduce emissions and traffic congestion, the City of Chicago desired to keep as much excavated soil on-site as possible. To aid in this endeavor, the CDA initiated a Balanced Earthwork Plan (BEP).
Additionally, an Earthwork Management Committee was established to make every effort to effectively match available soil material resources with project earthwork's needs, and to advise CDA leadership in making timely and informed decisions regarding earthwork relocation costs, phasing, quality, and quantities for both individual projects and the OMP as a whole.
The CDA's Balanced Earthwork Plan has kept soil on-site and out of landfills, helping the CDA achieve the triple bottom line by being economically viable, socially responsible and environmentally sound. Reusing soil onsite as part of new projects and/or stockpiling for future use has resulted in savings of over $180 million in the past 10 years. By keeping soil on-site, the CDA has also saved more than 850,000 truck trips, 9.6 million gallons of fuel, and over 97,000 tons of carbon dioxide.
Approximately 99% percent of all OMP construction and demolition debris has been recycled and prevented from entering area landfills.
Nearly 100 trees have been rescued from demolition sites and replanted at various CDA facilities. Nine varieties of trees were replanted including blue spruce, hemlock, Norway spruce and white pine. Shrubs, planter boxes and landscape boulders were also salvaged and reused.
The CDA requires contractors to use the newest, most efficient construction equipment available. Older construction equipment must be retrofitted with oxidation catalysts or particulate filters to reduce emissions to current standards. Consistently, more than 80 percent of all applicable construction equipment on-site is newer, leaving only 20 percent to be retrofitted. Going back 10+ years, when OMP construction began in 2005, the CDA led the industry conversion of construction vehicles by requiring the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel, five years ahead of the federal mandate.