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Research Project

Evaluation of Bridge Inspection and Assesment in Illinois

This project explores these opportunities and through literature review, interviews, surveys, field observation and field-testing develops recommendations to IDOT for the acquisition and use of these technologies. Evaluation criteria will be identified and an evaluation methodology developed in the course of the project.

Principal Investigator
McNeil, Sue
Research Area(s)
Data Development
Funding Source
Illinois Transportation Research Center, Illinois Department of Transportation


Maintaining, repairing and rehabilitating Illinois’ more than 8,000 bridges in a cost effective manner is critically dependent on reliable inspection and condition assessment data. Recent advances in non-destructive testing technology and new technologies for data acquisition and storage in the field promise to provide not only new and better data but improve the process.

Up-to-date, accurate and informative data representing the real-time condition of the bridges in the system inventory is critical to the effective use of bridge management systems (BMS). Inefficient data collection efforts have proven costly over time. New technology for data collection, storage and transfer not only addresses many of the constraints and concerns with the existing processes but provides additional condition data needed to make good decisions regarding the tradeoffs among maintenance, repair and rehabilitation strategies. Automated field data collection systems, including hand-held computers, and real-time access to bridge history by field inspectors comprise some of these new technologies. Moreover, field inspectors need to use enhanced imaging technologies and wearable computers in order to make unrestricted use of their hands for inspection activities. Automated transfer and updating of field data will provide the bridge authorities with real-time data for the bridges within the inventory. Finally, non-destructive evaluation provides additional assessment data not available using visual inspection. These technologies will result in effective implementation of the BMS and tremendous cost savings by the DOT. A report or paper from this research is not immediately available.