Victor Veliz is the Bridge Repairs Unit Chief in the Bureau of Bridges and Structures at the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). His unit is responsible for providing structural technical support to the nine districts that make up the department.
Specifically, his unit prepares internal plans, and reviews external plans, for the yearly repair of about 200 of the nearly 8,000 bridge structures that are part of the primary highway system in Illinois.
“This involves repairs to a wide range of structures from simple culvert structures to complex trusses. The repairs needed are the result of deterioration from aging, traffic use, component failure, or vehicle impact,” Veliz said.
Veliz has been with IDOT for over 30 years and has assisted with IDOT-sponsored research projects administered by the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT). Recently, Veliz served as Technical Review Panel (TRP) chair for project R27-156, “Repair & Strengthening of Distressed/Damaged Ends of Prestressed Beams with FRP Composites.” According to Veliz, Illinois has used precast, prestressed beams for many years. These beams have proven to be resilient, with damage to them being limited mainly to the beam ends due to expansion joint failure, which exposes the beams’ ends to deicing salt.
This research project provided a repair mechanism using fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites that will allow IDOT to extend the life of these beams by re-establishing the strength of the beams and avoiding the extremely costly beam replacement.
“The research results seem very promising and we are planning to implement the recommended repair procedure this year on a few of our structures,” Veliz said. “If the results of these simple and relatively inexpensive repairs are as successful as we expect, we should be able to prolong the life of these structures for many years to come.”
Veliz earned his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Northern Arizona University and his master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Arizona State University. During his tenure at IDOT, Veliz has served in several units of the Bureau of Bridges and Structures including Design and Review and Bridge Repairs.