Purdue’s S-BRITE Center Offers Hands-on Training for Bridge Inspectors

Deck truss node specimens erected at S-BRITE. (Photo courtesy of S-BRITE) 

As the country decides how and where to spend future transportation funding dollars, Purdue University’s Steel Bridge Research, Inspection and Training Engineering Center (or S-BRITE Center) is working to determine the conditions of Indiana and the nation’s infrastructure as a vital piece of the puzzle, Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports.

The grassy field next to the Purdue University Airport has a wide gravel path cutting through its middle, with slabs of concrete dotting the field. On top of the slabs are pieces of steel, dozens of feet long, most of them a few feet off the ground, elevated by concrete blocks.

As S-BRITE Center director Robert Connor points out, these pieces of steel – parts of decommissioned or collapsed bridges – have been collected from across the country, including a railroad bridge from Lansing County, Mich., and a highway bridge that spanned I-65 on the east side of Indianapolis.

The bridge gallery is Robert Connor’s brainchild. Its purpose is to educate and train bridge inspectors and to improve the practice of inspecting.

You can read and listen to the story here.