September 25, 2019

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The M-7 project in Rockford, Illinois is the second site to be addressed in a system-wide Maintenance Facility program being planned, designed and engineered by Epstein for the Illinois Tollway.

M-7, located at East State Street and I-90, was completed in 2018. Epstein provided lead architectural design as well as MEP and structural engineering services for the $25.7 million facility.

M-7 is comprised of a maintenance building that houses 31,000 square feet of truck and equipment parking and a welding shop; 15,000 square feet of parts, storage, management offices; a storage mezzanine; and a functionally-connected, six bay truck maintenance garage. An administrative support area of 6,000 square feet houses an independent State Highway Patrol facility and Tollway driver support including locker rooms and a break/small assembly area for daily and emergency storm logistic briefings. Site design reconstruction also includes an independent truck wash building, fuel island upgrades, and an equipment building to support a communication tower.

In addition, to help reduce the highly-aggressive corrosive impact of 24/7 snow removal and rescue activities, M-7 has an independent-free-standing truck- wash facility on site constructed with similar pre-cast materials as the maintenance facility.

The building also features many sustainable design elements including a rooftop photovoltaic array that supplies supplemental electricity. Skylights and punched openings in the pre-cast wall panels utilize translucent, insulating glass and polycarbonate panels to provide abundant natural day-lighting. The high-bay maintenance portion is naturally ventilated with operable windows. These sustainable design elements helped M-7 achieve LEED-Gold certification.

The M-7 facility also features a 193 kilowatt (kW) solar array on the roof, estimated to produce roughly 251,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity each year, nearly $20,000 worth of electricity. And, most importantly, this solar array will significantly reduce emissions to the equivalent of 40 cars per year or the burning 204,000 lbs. of coal.

The first facility, the LEED Gold M-1 in Alsip, Illinois, was completed in 2015.