We come in contact with a multitude of pollutants throughout our daily lives. With growing rates of respiratory illnesses, heightened attention to reducing harmful pollutants is essential to maintaining our standard of living. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) looks to propel us in to a healthier future with projects such as the No. 66 Route Electric Bus Charging Station Infrastructure plan. In addition to lower emissions that benefit air quality, electric buses offer savings in fuel and maintenance costs. The two electric buses currently in operation have saved CTA more than $24,000 annually in fuel costs and $30,000 annually in maintenance costs, when compared to diesel buses purchased in 2014. They also provide a quieter ride, producing noise equivalent to a human conversation.
Our structures are the safest, most efficient, and ideal solution to keeping your fleet charged-up – on or off the route
Although 66% (1.4 million) of all electric cars in the world navigate U.S. roads, only 1% (300) of electric busses operate here. Electric buses are highly efficient, have lower operating costs and produce significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than diesel buses; however, installing the necessary infrastructure is complex. CTA selected SQN Associates to manage this intricate project. Named after the Latin phrase “sine qua nom” meaning indispensable or essential, SQN Associates is a Chicago based Construction, Project, & Program Management firm specializing in transportation. Charging stations are a critical component of the No. 66 Infrastructure; therefore, finding a reliable partner to design them was important. With a strong industry reputation for quality and a commitment to Conserving Resources. Improving Life. Valmont Industries Inc. was selected to create an efficient charging station for this project.
All project partners had to be intimately involved in planning to understand the various moving parts. There are three types of charging: plug-in, pantograph and inductive. Valmont designed these charging stations to use a fully automated pantograph charger that reaches down to transfer power through contact points on the roof of a bus. “Our structures are the safest, most efficient, and ideal solution to keeping your fleet charged-up – on or off the route.” This solution offers charging capability in 10 minutes or less while improving health by reducing respiratory issues.
The charging station project would not be complete without a sustainable, long-lasting, protective coating. Chicago experiences harsh winters and the salts used on icy roads cause accelerated corrosion. Since the No. 66 project aims to reduce future public transportation costs, longevity of the infrastructure was vital. The CTA is very familiar with the various coating systems available due to decades of specification. For this project, they opted for the optimal protection system, a duplex coating. Hot-dip galvanizing will protect the structure from corrosion for decades, even in this corrosive area due to the metallurgical bond created between the zinc and steel substrate. Hot-dip galvanizing is also an extremely sustainable solution; adding to the overall environmental goals of the project. The top coat of paint provides color customization while slowing the rate at which the zinc coating is consumed. The synergistic effect of the two system combined provide 1.5 to 2.3 times the expected lifespan of either system used on its own.
The new quick-charging stations have now been installed at Navy Pier and Chicago/Austin and additional 7 stations are planned throughout the city. These charging stations will help Chicago achieve their goal of transitioning the CTA bus fleet to be 100% electric by 2040.
Original Equipment Manufacturing
Chicago, IL United States
Coating Durability, Corrosion Performance, Life-Cycle Cost
All Structural Steel was galvanizing for this project
Chicago Transit Authority
Valmont Industries, Inc.
Valmont Coatings - Valley Galvanizing
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