Black & Veatch to design Chicago’s McCook Reservoir tunnel connection for USACE

Water infrastructure tunnel - Copyright Black and Veatch

Water infrastructure tunnel - Copyright Black and Veatch

Kansas City, Mo. (Aug. 5, 2009) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has selected Black & Veatch as the design engineer for the McCook Reservoir Main Tunnel. The new tunnel will connect the future McCook Reservoir to Chicago’s Deep Tunnel system, which is aimed at improving water quality in area rivers and Lake Michigan and reducing flood risk for the city of Chicago and suburban communities. [Editor] Photo copyright Black and Veatch [/Editor]

“We are pleased that Black & Veatch has engaged its top resources to execute this assignment,” said Linda Sorn, USACE Chicago District Chief of Technical Services. “The McCook Reservoir is a marquee project for the USACE and our local sponsor, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, to reduce flood risk, protect the vital Lake Michigan water supply and improve the quality of water in area watercourses.”

The project is a key component of Chicago’s Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP). Through TARP, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC) collects and diverts combined sewer overflows and floodwaters throughout metropolitan Chicago to temporary holding reservoirs before treatment. When completed, the tunnel will connect Chicago’s Mainstream Tunnel to the planned McCook Reservoir and bolster protection of the local water supply.

“The McCook Reservoir Main Tunnel System design figures prominently into the completion of the environmentally significant TARP project and will have a positive impact on the many people drawn to Chicago’s rivers and Lake Michigan shoreline as well as aquatic life in these valuable resources,” said Dan McCarthy, President and CEO of Black & Veatch’s global water business. “The McCook Reservoir project will deliver sustainable benefits to Chicago’s people, environment and economy.”

“Experts in our core business practice groups of tunneling, dams, levees and reservoirs – as well as Black & Veatch’s Federal Services Division – are an integral part of the USACE and MWRDGC project team and are fully engaged in bringing this project to fruition,” said Faruk Oksuz, Associate Vice President and Black & Veatch National Practice Leader for Dams, Levees and Reservoirs.

In addition to the main gates and connection tunnel system for McCook Reservoir, the global engineering, consulting and construction company is also leading the design for the groundwater protection system and the Thorn Creek connection tunnel, and is leading the final preparations for the Thornton Composite Reservoir. The projected construction costs for all facilities Black & Veatch is designing in conjunction with TARP are estimated to be more than $500 million.


Technical Notes:

  • The bifurcated tunnel system will be approximately 1,800 feet in length and 33 feet in diameter.
  • Computational fluid dynamics and finite-element numerical modeling will be used to address complex system hydraulics and geotechnical conditions, including steel and concrete lining design details.
  • A set of six high-head wheel gates will be installed 300 feet below grade to control flows into and out of the McCook Reservoir.
  • Black & Veatch will prepare a geotechnical baseline report and assist in development of risk management strategies for design and constructability, in addition to sequencing and procurement of work, schedule and budget controls.


About Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch is a leading global engineering, consulting and construction company specializing in infrastructure development in energy, water, telecommunications, management consulting, federal and environmental markets. Founded in 1915, Black & Veatch develops tailored infrastructure solutions that meet clients’ needs and provide sustainable benefits. Solutions are provided from the broad line of service expertise available within Black & Veatch, including conceptual and preliminary engineering services, engineering design, procurement, construction, financial management, asset management, program management, construction management, environmental, security design and consulting, management consulting and infrastructure planning. With $3.2 billion in revenue, the employee-owned company has more than 100 offices worldwide and has completed projects in more than 100 countries on six continents.

Black & Veatch’s global water business provides innovative, technology-based solutions to utilities, governments and industries worldwide. Local project managers work with a global team of water and wastewater treatment process experts to address site-specific challenges through a broad range of consulting, study, planning, design, design-build and construction management services. The company’s Web site address is

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