Monday, September 4, 2017

Engineering students from Japan get lesson at Meredosia bridge

The group of foreign tourists stood on the tall structure and looked straight down, impressed by the feats of engineering that made their vista possible. But these visitors weren’t on the Observation Deck at Chicago’s Willis Tower – they were atop the $75 million Illinois 104 bridge over the Illinois River that is under construction at Meredosia.

Five engineering students and a professor from Japan’s Ashikaga Institute of Technology met with engineers last week and were given a tour of the bridge that features a 118-foot-tall central arch on top and a 55-foot clearance for river traffic below.

The students were in the area as part of the 16-year-old Sister Cities exchange program between the University of Illinois Springfield and Ashikaga Institute of Technology. Since the Institute is an engineering school, UIS has worked with the Illinois Department of Transportation to tour active construction sites whenever the students from Japan pay a visit.

“What IDOT has been able to do through the years is show us things like this, or the MacArthur (Boulevard) extension (in Springfield), so the students see not just the theory, but the practice,” said Jonathan GoldbergBelle, coordinator of Thursday visit. “What I’ve heard today is a lot of ‘wow,’ or ‘cool,’ those sorts of things.”

“I hope they take away how we do things here, and get some ideas that they can take back home with them.” John Sestak, the IDOT area field engineer helping to oversee the project, was pleased with the enthusiasm shown by the students.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 3, 2017.
Read the entire article online.