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Open house April 12 for Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Lab


Barry J. Dempsey, director of the Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory, (217) 893-0004; bjdemps@illinois.edu

4/9/
2002

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Members of the transportation faculty within the department of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois are holding an open house and dedication ceremony at the Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory (ATREL) in Rantoul, Ill., on Friday, (April 12) beginning at 2 p.m. ATREL was acquired as a no-cost transfer when the Chanute Air Force Base closed in 1994 and has become a premier research facility with an estimated value of approximately $10 million.

Through funding from the Illinois Department of Transportation and the state of Illinois, ATREL has acquired an Advanced Transportation Loading System (ATLaS) designed to test pavement and railroad tracks by simulating real-world traffic distributions.

The ATLaS is mounted on four crawler tracks, which allows it to be positioned easily on the pavement to be tested. The machine transmits a load up to 80,000 pounds to the pavement through a hydraulic ram attached to a wheel carriage.

The computer controller on the ATLaS can vary the load magnitude as the wheel rolls over a pavement section. The wheel carriage can move laterally, simulating real-world traffic distributions. The ATLaS can apply as many as 10,000 repetitions per day.

Approximately $2 million in funding for the equipment and site development was made available through the Illinois Department of Transportation and the state of Illinois. The Transportation Group negotiated a design-build contract with Applied Research Associates Inc. of Royalton, Vt., for the ATLaS.