City-Wide Bridge Inspection Program

Chicago Department of Transportation | Chicago, IL
bridge inspection

The Chicago Bridge Inspection Team (CBIT), a joint venture of Benesch and Collins Engineers, Inc. provides inspection services for the City of Chicago. The Chicago Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) bridge inventory is comprised of more than 400 bridges, including movable structures, arch, truss, and cable-stay bridges, as well as viaducts, three-sided frame structures, culverts, pedestrian walkways and expressway overpasses.

Chicago is home to a variety of unique structure types, including 52 movable bridges (43 are still in operation). Inspecting these bascule bridges demands significant time and expertise due to their structural complexity. Many of these bridges require the use of specialized equipment, such as barges and aerial lifts, to access various bridge components for inspection.

The CBIT team ensures that all required inspections are performed in accordance with National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and CDOT requirements and guidelines. The types of NBIS inspections being performed include routine, initial, special, fracture critical, underwater, damage, in-depth, load rating, elemental level as well as mechanical and electrical inspections for movable bridges.

Extensive coordination with CBIT’s many subconsultants, specialized equipment rental vendors, adjacent property owners and various city entities to secure necessary permits and access to the bridges is required to complete the inspections on time year after year.

CBIT is also responsible for updating and submitting IDOT bridge inspection forms, updating and maintaining the CDOT bridge infrastructure database and assisting CDOT in prioritizing bridge infrastructure for further capital and maintenance funding. In addition, the team provides professional engineering services for the city, including load capacity ratings and structural peer reviews for complex bridges, the development and implementation of a Bridge Management System and 24/7 availability for bridge emergencies and repair designs.

The team is currently completing its second 5-year contract with the city to manage this massive program.