Dan Tobias, Engineer of Concrete and Soils with the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Materials and Physical Research, has been instrumental in several ICT research projects. To date, he has chaired three completed projects and served as a committee member on more than ten others. Past projects he has chaired include:
- R27-070: Calibration and Refinement of Illinois’ Earthquake Resisting System Bridge Design Methodology. Project findings and recommendations are available in two reports, Experimental Investigation of the Seismic Response of Bridge Bearings and Seismic Performance of Quasi-Isolated Bridges in Illinois.
- R27-082: Strengthening of Bridge Wood Pilings Retrofits for Moment Resistance
- R27-088: Bridge Decks: Mitigation of Cracking and Increased Durability
Tobias’ involvement in those projects has led to improved bridge design and maintenance. Project R27-082 was initiated after a rural bridge collapsed in northern Illinois several years ago. The research findings of the project allowed IDOT to make certain bridges stronger and safer by using fiber-reinforced polymers to retrofit wood pilings. Additionally, by examining bridge deck cracking behavior in project R27-088, IDOT now has a better of understanding of how to mitigate cracking, which will reduce maintenance costs over time.
Currently, Tobias is serving as co-chair of the Technical Review Panel (TRP) for project R27-133, “Calibration and Refinement of Illinois’ Earthquake Resisting System (ERS) Bridge Design Methodology—Phase 2.” This project, a followup to project R27-070, is expected to be highly beneficial to Illinois and have an impact for many years to come. In Phase 1 of the project, the TRP and research team worked together to ensure that IDOT’s current ERS was robust and produced bridge designs that could withstand a 1,000-year period seismic event. Phase 2 of the project is working toward implementation of a unique method for seismic bridge design, which will produce bridges that perform better during seismic events and are more economical to build. Tobias notes that Illinois’ refined method will likely influence how other states design their bridges in the future.
Tobias has been with IDOT since 2000. In that time, he has served as a bridge and structural designer; was instrumental in a complete revision to the Illinois Bridge Manual, which implemented the new AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Code; and has designed and written IDOT’s original Earthquake Resisting System Bridge Design Methodology. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Virginia Tech and master’s and doctoral degrees in structural/civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.