Drainage Design Blog

Chicago Kennedy Mainline Retaining Wall Drainage System

87 JET Filter Drainage systems used on a Kennedy Mainline concrete retaining wall installation to provide efficient and maintainable drainage

Drainage Dillema

In a bid to enhance the structural integrity and prolong the life of a new retaining wall on the Kennedy Mainline in Chicago, Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) installed an innovative drainage system that is changing the transportation industry.

The project involved the installation of 87 Jet Filter 4″ Diameter Open-End Drainage Systems. This drainage solution was chosen to enhance the drainage performance and protect the support soils behind the retaining wall. The project required the extension of weep holes from the retaining wall through the reinforced concrete roadway barriers and enhancing them with the JET Filter drainage filters.


The primary objectives of this project were as follows:

  • Improve the drainage performance of the retaining wall.
  • Protect the support soils behind the retaining wall to ensure long-term stability.
  • Extend the weep holes through the existing reinforced concrete barriers.
  • Install the JET Filter weephole filters to effectively manage water drainage and filtration.


Upon completion of the installation of 87 of the 4″ Open-End Units, several significant improvements were noted:

  • Enhanced Drainage Performance: The JET Filter drainage system effectively managed water drainage, reducing the risk of water infiltration behind the retaining wall.
  • Prevention of Soil Erosion: By properly filtering out sediments and debris, the JET Filter weephole filters prevented soil erosion and helped maintain the stability of the retaining wall.
  • Sustainable Solution: The JET Filter system proved to be a sustainable solution for the wall, allowing for quick maintenance, protection of the wall from hydrostatic pressure and erosion, and helping avoid major projects in the future.

At a Glance

Project Location: Chicago, IL
Owner: Illinois DOT
Engineer: AECOM
Contractor: Lorig Construction Compan

  • Improved Drainage Design of new Concrete Wingwall on Kennedy Mainline in Chicago, IL
  • 87 Units of the 4″ Open-End JET Filters were installed
  • System was installed through the roadway barriers

Street View: https://bit.ly/3IUjKym

Plans: https://bit.ly/3ugbtq4

Check out the Video

Product Used

4″ Open-end ASTM # JF4SS