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Conference offers insights for structural engineers

URBANA - Monuments of engineering from the world's tallest building to "the Big Dig," and a multi-billion dollar project to realign rail traffic through Chicago are among the topics being discussed at the Eighth Annual Structural Engineering Conference, which will be April 5 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Illini Union at 1401 W. Green St.

The event is sponsored by the university, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Office of Continuing Education

"In previous years, approximately 200 practicing engineers from throughout Illinois and from the large metropolitan areas of nearby states, have shared their insights and experience at the annual event," said Nancy L. Gavlin, a visiting lecturer in the department of civil and environmental engineering at Illinois and co-chair of this year's conference.

Several significant projects will be discussed, including:

bullet The Burj Dubai: Currently under construction, it will be the world's tallest building when it is completed. At more than 160 stories tall it is much taller than the next closest building, which is only 101 stories. The Burj Dubai was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP in Chicago.

bullet Stem to Stern Safety Audit of the Big Dig: The $15 billion Boston public works project has suffered serious structural failures during construction and since the completion of construction. The Chicago area firm, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. was hired to conduct a structural investigation of the project.

bullet CREATE - On the Right Track: The CREATE project is a multi-billion dollar project to realign rail traffic through Chicago.

Gavlin said the the one-day conference brings together a mix of structural engineering professional from local, state, and federal agencies, consulting and contracting firms, and universities to discuss new developments in the field including structural integrity standards, sustainable design, materials and aesthetics.