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icy beard Going Green

With the Des Plaines River and 6 other streams running within its 14.5 square miles, the City of Des Plaines, Illinois views storm water management as a top priority.

To protect homes and businesses from flooding while safeguarding local water quality, the city has adopted pervious concrete as the material of choice for alley repaving, says Civil Engineer Jane Johnson.

"We kicked off the Green Alleys program in 2009 to test the value of pervious in reducing the flow of storm runoff to nearby waterways," Johnson explains. "Since then we've replaced 9 alleys with this material and we're very pleased with the results."

The program is part of the city's Deep Green initiative – a partnership among residents, businesses and government to embrace sustainable practices. Deep Green launched in 2003 and continues under the leadership of 6th Ward Alderman Mark Walsten, who chairs the citizen-driven Deep Green committee.

icy beardFilters runoff, recharges ground waters

Durable yet porous, pervious surfaces filter rain and snow melt, safely channeling clean water back into the ground and in most cases, eliminating the need for new sewer tie-ins.

In 2009, crews replaced 2 of Des Plaines’ old concrete alleys with pervious mix provided by Prairie Material’s Yard 8.  “We studied the results carefully over the following year and decided to continue the pilot with 4 additional alleys replaced in 2010,” says Johnson.

Pilot defines keys to success

For ideal filtration and drainage, pervious concrete is placed over a bed of crushed stone. Following observation of drainage patterns in the pilot alleys, Des Plaines engineers increased the original 4-inch stone base to 6 inches.

The pilot also confirmed that aprons and borders of standard concrete were needed to prevent surface raveling where vehicle tire pressure was greatest. Regular vacuuming and snow removal with rubber blades has helped keep the permeable surfaces sound, Johnson reports.

Speed, skill needed for correct placement

In June 2011, crews from DiNatale Construction of Addison, Illinois placed more than 300 yards of Prairie’s StormHandler® pervious concrete in 3 alleys slated for repaving.

Mike DiNatale and his crews compacted the no-slump mix with a wide roller, curing it and covering the surface with plastic within 20 minutes to ensure best results.

DiNatale became a certified pervious technician with the Illinois Ready Mixed Concrete Association through a seminar hosted by Prairie Material.

“This is the first opportunity we’ve had to work with StormHandler, and we’re enthusiastic about using it wherever our clients need an environmentally friendly choice for paving,” he says. 

Mobile plant serves major industrial site

icy beardIn May 2011, Prairie crews installed one of our largest portable plants at Mining International’s limestone aggregate operation at the Port of Will County near Joliet, Illinois.

Our long-term lease at the site empowers us to serve contractors building a 3,600-acre intermodal distribution center just 2 miles away. Developed by CenterPoint Properties, this new industrial hub will offer more than 21 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space.

Prairie’s dual central-mix plant can produce up to 500 yards per hour to meet tough scheduling demands. Our first job at the site was a 1-million-square-foot floor for Home Depot’s new distribution center, poured by MJTJ Contractors Inc. of Streamwood, Illinois.

The mobile plant gives Prairie an ideal base of operations in Chicago’s southwest suburbs, where construction growth has remained strong. “We look forward to the many opportunities this new site makes possible,” says Prairie’s Chad Groff.

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