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America’s Central Port

Location: Granite City, Illinois
Client/Owner: America’s Central Port
Services: Construction Observation and Quality ControlWater Resource Management

Geotechnology has recently finished up our services for design and construction of a new slip harbor on the east bank of the Mississippi River located at America’s Central Port (ACP) near Granite City, Illinois.  Once open, six railroads and four interstate highways with a lock-free public inland waterway environment will come together to create a multi-modal gateway of both national and regional significance.  The South Harbor will utilize the marine highway opportunity on the Mississippi River to transport cargo from points north of Chicago, Illinois to the ports of the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.  More than 3 million tons of cargo pass through the port each year. The ease of connecting river, rail, and road at one location will save both time and money.  The new harbor is expected to increase tonnage by 30 percent and create up to 800 full-time jobs.

A levee underseepage study was conducted to assess the impacts from planned developments, if any, and if required remediation(s) to the levee system at River’s Edge would need to be made to maintain seepage conditions acceptable to the Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District. Existing boring and well logs provided by the St. Louis District were reviewed to develop numeric models for several planned development scenarios, and conduct analyses to guide development of the remainder of the underseepage study.

Initial studies of existing conditions indicated that the exit gradient landward of the levee did not meet the Corps target value. In conjunction with development, the need for remedial measures regarding underseepage, such as additional relief wells, modeling planned fills on the levee inboard side as a seepage berm, or adding cut off walls to maintain an acceptably low exit gradient landward of the levee will be required. The underseepage study was completed by performing additional borings on the landward and river sides of the levee supplementing the Corps borings, gradation tests from which permittivity values of the sand were correlated, and detailed numeric studies using a spreadsheet model benchmarked to ground surface topography, stratigraphy, and hydraulic conditions specific to the site.

We provided construction observation and quality control testing during construction which included grain size analysis, moisture contents, Atterberg limits, Proctors, and compaction testing using sand cone and nuclear density methods per USACE specifications.  Laboratory testing was performed in our USACE-validated laboratory.  Construction tasks within the project included relief wells, a cut-off trench, harbor excavation, roadways, future building pad sites, and parking areas.  Approximately 560,000 cubic yards of soil was excavated and placed in various locations.

Natural systems consulting services have been provided to America’s Central Port since 2007. Wetland delineations of the 1,200-acre River’s Edge Development as well as an adjacent 63-acre site along the Mississippi River, identifying over 50 acres of wetlands and water courses have been performed. Currently, the project team is assisting TCRPD with biological assessments and mitigation services associated with a proposed harbor. To date, mitigation services have included reviewing thousands of acres in the project area for suitable wetland and stream mitigation as well as preparing a working mitigation plan.

This project has a significant amount of public and regulatory agency interaction and the team has been a crucial element in maintaining correspondence and attending meetings.