Illinois Tollway Teams With Industry Partners To Host Digital Construction Contractor Training Workshop

Illinois Tollway Teams With Industry Partners To Host Digital Construction Contractor Training Workshop

The digital revolution is accelerating in the heavy highway construction industry and the Illinois Tollway is making sure that smaller firms aren’t steamrolled by the changes. 

The Illinois Tollway is defining requirements not only for construction, but also setting requirements in design and letting to aid in the collection of digital data. 

To ensure that no construction firm is left behind, the Tollway joined forces with its contractors, equipment and software manufacturers and labor partners to conduct a Digital Construction Contractor Training Workshop at the Local 150 training center in Wilmington. 

“As technology advances, it’s important that we empower firms of all sizes and types to gain the knowledge, skills and hands-on experience necessary to expand their capabilities and remain competitive,” said Illinois Tollway Chief Engineering Officer Manar Nashif. “This workshop provides these firms the tools they need to adopt innovative technologies that improve efficiencies, reduce costs or deliver better, more sustainable facilities for our customers.”  

The Illinois Tollway is at the forefront of developing Building Information Modeling (BIM) and the use of digital files throughout the life cycle of project – from concept, design and construction to asset management. The Tollway has adopted these digital technologies as the new standard in construction to make building roads and bridges more efficient and with greater precision while reducing costs throughout the life cycle of a facility. 

BIM allows users to create, view and share comprehensive 3D models with an entire project team to plan, design, construct, operate, maintain and manage any project on their laptops, tablets and smartphones – replacing traditional paper plans with “digital blueprints.”   

At the same time, the Tollway is making sure that small and diverse firms have opportunities to learn how to use these cutting-edge technologies and network with established firms and product specialists in the digital construction field. 

As part of its efforts to advance the adoption of new technologies, the Tollway created its Emerging Technologies Initiative to provide access to mentoring and training by large construction contractors, union partners and equipment manufacturers on various technologies such as 3D grading for earthwork, automated machine guidance for grading and CCTV camera installation. The goal is to increase and strengthen the number of firms available to perform work on more complex projects. 

“The impact that training and in-the-field experience have on emerging businesses cannot be overstated,” said Illinois Tollway Chief of Diversity and Strategic Development Terry Miller. “The ability to hear from product specialists, train with cutting-edge equipment and network with your peers in the construction industry is priceless.”

Nearly 60 industry professionals participated in the workshop, which was conducted at the Local 150 training center in the City of Wilmington. Located about 20 minutes south of Joliet, the 342,00-square-foot facility features 30 classrooms, a 200-seat auditorium, construction materials testing lab, nearly 200 pieces of heavy equipment and an equipment simulator lab. 

The workshop kicked off with classroom training on the various software applications and equipment currently in use. Later, participants received hands-on training with field equipment, including a real-time simulator to provide firsthand experience using sophisticated technologies such as a GPS rover, drone and stringless paver. 

The Illinois Tollway thanks all the contractors, vendors and industry partners who participated in the digital workshop and Local 150 for hosting the event.