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Subcontractor of the Year - 2012  

 Gary/Chicago Airport Authority: EJ&E Railroad Bridges
 Braced Sheet Piling Installation
 Gary, Indiana

The expansion of the Gary-Chicago Airport required the relocation of some of the rail tracks currently located in the new runway's footprint. As a subcontractor to Rieth-Riley, Thatcher Foundations designed and constructed two permanent cofferdams which will aid in the excavation for the new separated grade crossing, ultimately allowing the Norfolk Southern rail line to cross over the EJ&E line. The west cofferdam consisted of 8,000 SF of braced sheet piling, and the east cofferdam was constructed with 7,000 SF of braced sheet piling.

The close proximity of the cofferdam construction to Thatcher's office, equipment shop and fabrication facility made the project ideal for "just-in-time" construction of welded tight corners based on field-provided dimensions. Its close location also allowed Thatcher's Project Manager to be on-site quickly when "surprises" presented themselves.

All of Thatcher's team members wore PPE including hard hats, eye protection, and reflective vests. Because trains were using the existing tracks during construction, safety and security were tight. On-site employees were screened through the e-railsafe system, and the e-verify program was implemented to comply with homeland security requirements. The field construction team alerted the Safety Manager that there were visitors on-site who had not been through the e-railsafe and e-verify programs - snakes! The electricity from Thatcher's welding had apparently jolted the snakes from their burrows, and they were suddenly very active. The Safety Manager set a "snake watch," who visually monitored the site and warned employees when a snake was spotted. 

Because of their rail training and quick thinking when dealing with unplanned issues, including the snakes, Thatcher's employees completed both cofferdams without a recordable incident.

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  The west cofferdam, during construction. The completed east cofferdam.  

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