Photo courtesy of APWA
Credit: Photo courtesy of APWA

Photo courtesy of APWA

Danville’s Fairchild Overpass Improvement was recently named a 2015 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). This year, the team of winners includes the City of Danville, IL, as the managing agency, O’Neil Brothers as the primary contractor; and Alfred Benesch & Company as the primary consultant. These organizations were presented with the award during APWA’s 2015 International Public Works Congress & Exposition Awards Ceremony in Phoenix, Arizona held August 30-September 2, 2015.The Fairchild Overpass Improvement project was honored APWA’s Project of the Year award: Small Cities/Rural Communities – Transportation category. This award honors agencies representing cities and communities with a population of 75,000 or less. The SC/RC Project of the Year Award was established to promote excellence in demonstrating creativity, ingenuity and efficiency in the delivery of public works projects that have a profound impact on the community.

Danville’s only east-west arterial without an at-grade crossing is Fairchild Street, which provides a connection from the Indiana state line and Interstate 74 to the area hospital. The street also passed beneath six tracks of the Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation railroads using a viaduct comprised of two concrete arch tunnels and a series of retaining walls that were built circa 1915. The city commissioned an engineering analysis that found that the walls of the viaduct had moved laterally up to 13 inches and had “structurally failed.” The engineering report recommended the city begin planning for the replacement of the viaduct and continually monitor its condition. The city began replacing the viaduct with initial action to stabilize the viaduct in 2006, until a permanent replacement option could be implemented while conducting a corridor study. The project was completed with the opening of the modern Fairchild Overpass in 2014.

One of the primary design goals was to improve the efficiency of the Fairchild and Bowman intersection, where the historical Germantown Fire Station is located on the northeast corner, and Fairchild School on the southwest corner. The alignment of the Bowman intersection was changed from a tangent to an S curve to avoid impacts to these significant structures while providing additional capacity and widening. Prior to the Fairchild Overpass Improvement Project, the Fairchild right-of-way consisted of paved surfaces from the north to south right-of-way. The improvement created boulevards and backslopes with landscaping opportunities for environmental enhancements. Robust tree plantings were planted to reduce greenhouse emissions and to

mitigate urban heat island effects, and turf grass was replaced with native plantings to lower water demand and maintenance costs.

For more information on the APWA 2015 Projects of the Year, please contact APWA Media Relations/Communications Manager, Laura Bynum,, or call 202.218.6736.