Project Owner

Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT)


Alfred Benesch & Company and Collins Engineers Inc.

Services Provided

NBIS Bridge Inspection, Bridge Rating, and Emergency Repair


Various Locations, Chicago, IL

Project Duration


Chicago Bridge Inspection Team (CBIT)

HBM Engineering Group, LLC, as a sub-consultant to The Chicago Bridge Inspection Team (CBIT), which is a Joint Venture of Alfred Benesch & Company and Collins Engineers Inc., played a crucial role in providing bridge inspection services for the entire Chicago Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) extensive bridge inventory. This collaborative effort encompassed a broad range of objectives aimed at ensuring the structural integrity and safety of CDOT’s diverse bridge portfolio, totaling more than 400 structures of various types.

Project Objectives: The overarching objectives of the project were as follows:

  1. Structural Adequacy: Ensure that CDOT’s bridges are structurally adequate for their intended use, adhering to the highest safety standards.

  2. Bridge Inspection Compliance: Update and submit the necessary Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) bridge inspection forms, guaranteeing compliance with regulatory requirements.

  3. Database Management: Maintain and update the CDOT bridge infrastructure database, which serves as a crucial resource for efficient bridge management.

  4. Capital Maintenance Prioritization: Assist CDOT in prioritizing the bridge infrastructure, determining the allocation of capital maintenance funding to address critical needs.

Diverse Bridge Inventory: CDOT’s bridge inventory presented a diverse array of structures, including movable bridges, fixed span structures, viaducts, three-sided frame structures, pedestrian bridges, and expressway overpass structures. Each type presented unique inspection challenges and requirements. 

HBM’s Scope:

  • NBIS Bridge Inspection, Bridge Rating, and Emergency Repair: Undertook a range of essential tasks, including Biennial NBIS Bridge Inspections, bridge ratings, and addressing emergency repairs.
  • Project Management and Document Control: Coordinated project management, document control, and field inspection, evaluation, and documentation to support comprehensive reporting.

  • Quality Assurance/Quality Control: Implemented a robust Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) program that covered various areas, including standards and documents, document control, technical review, quality records, and training.

CBIT’s Role as Consultant Program Manager: As the Consultant Program Manager, CBIT assumed responsibility for conducting bridge inspections in accordance with the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) guidelines, IDOT regulations, and CDOT requirements. The inspections encompassed various categories, including routine, initial, special, fracture critical, underwater, and element level, as well as mechanical and electrical inspections for movable bridges.

CBIT’s role also extended to providing professional engineering services, including:

  • Bridge Load Capacity Ratings: Evaluating complex bridges for load capacity ratings.
  • Structural Peer Review: Conducting peer reviews of complex bridge structures to ensure structural integrity.
  • Value Engineering Studies: Exploring value engineering opportunities to optimize cost-effectiveness.
  • On-Call Bridge Engineering: Providing on-call support for emergency repairs and critical bridge engineering services.
  • Bridge Management System Development: Developing a comprehensive bridge management system, including electronic data collection, to streamline maintenance and monitoring.

Project Highlights: The project’s notable highlights included:

  • Conducting nearly 200 bridge inspections annually, necessitating a dedicated team of Certified Team Leaders and inspectors.
  • Inspecting 41 movable bridges, each with distinct requirements and challenges.
  • Managing complex coordination and logistics with sub-consultants, equipment rental vendors, and adjacent property owners.
  • Securing permits from CDOT, the U.S. Coast Guard, and railroad authorities to perform inspections.
  • Implementing bridge load capacity ratings using AASHTOWare or equivalent software.
  • Ensuring compliance with safety protocols, including fall protection, confined space, railroad safety, and advanced National Highway Institute (NHI) training.
  • Participating in the design of emergency repairs for critical bridge structures.

HBM's contributions were instrumental in ensuring the structural integrity and safety of Chicago's extensive bridge inventory. The collaborative efforts within the CBIT project served to maintain these vital transportation assets and provide CDOT with valuable insights to enhance infrastructure management