ITI Bridge Sensor Project Featured in Chicago Tribune

ITI engineers work on a CTA bridge

Northwestern University’s Infrastructure Technology Institute has partnered with the Chicago Transit Authority on a project that measures strain on a CTA bridge, and the project is featured in the Chicago Tribune’s Getting Around column.

For the past several months, ITI engineers have monitored strain on the century-old bridge over Devon Avenue using sensors that are embedded in the concrete and attached to the bridge’s steel retrofit. The sensors measure how much the bridge strains when trains pass over, then transmit that information to a nearby computer, which then transmits the information to a web site. The CTA can monitor the strain, and ITI engineers can use the long-term data to provide suggestions on which parts of the structure could become vulnerable.

"At this and other locations, we can help a public agency that has serious budget constraints to safely extend the service life of its infrastructure," said Joseph Schofer, director of ITI and associate dean at the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern.