The Riverwalk is the third and final phase of the Wacker Drive Reconstruction Project. The reconstruction of East-West Wacker was completed in 2002 and North-South Wacker was completed in November of 2012. The Riverwalk provides a continuous walkway and recreational amenity connecting the lakefront to the heart of downtown. Each of the six blocks from State Street west to Lake Street have distinctive identities and purposes, and are thematically named – The Marina Plaza, The Cover, The River Theater, The Water Plaza, The Jetty, and the Boardwalk. Phase 1 of the Riverwalk was completed in 2009.
Ardmore provided construction management services to Alfred Benesch for Phase 2 between State Street and La Salle Street which was opened to the public in June of 2015, and for Phase 3 from La Salle Street to Lake Street scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016. The majority of construction was completed on water including demolition of existing landscaping, sidewalks and sheet pile caps at the site of each room, followed by installation of continuous steel sheet pile wall opposite existing dockwall; placement of crushed stone backfill in the 25-ft gap separating new and existing walls; and construction of sheet pile caps, structural slabs, concrete sidewalk and pavers. During construction three bridges were lifted one at a time for about a week each, and several weeks apart in order to install the foundations of underbridge walkways which required detours of pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Some features of Phase 2 included a 900-ft-long walkway along the south bank, and three 300-ft-long themed “rooms” bracketed by bascule draw bridges spanning the river. As with the adjacent Cove and Marina Plaza, crews also completed cap work and formwork for walls, stair footings and planters, in addition to the installation of granite pavers.
Phase 3 includes a 0.7-mile project, a commercial and recreational venue that upon completion in 2016 will extend nine city blocks, from Lake Michigan through the heart of downtown. As with phase two, the construction management team will monitor the activities of up to 12 barges in efforts to extend existing frontage 25 ft into the 200-ft-wide channel and construct underbridge connections to join each of the block-long rooms.