front and center:
University of Nebraska–Lincoln engineers are leading a five-year initiative to modernize bridges in the Republic of Korea, which is expected to invest $100 million to update its transportation infrastructure.
A consortium of industry, government and universities is developing a plan and conducting research for the project. The National Bridge Research Organization, a division of UNL's Department of Civil Engineering, is the liaison between U.S. and Korean researchers. Atorod Azizinamini, director of NaBRO and professor of civil engineering, is leading the project.
"The Republic of Korea sees UNL as the authority on bridge engineering, and as a result, they want to work with us," Azizinamini said.
In the past decade, UNL researchers have developed several new bridge technologies, including the NU I-Girder, a system for bridges with long spans and shallow depths that makes construction faster and more economical, and the NUDECK, a system that makes construction faster and increases a bridge deck's lifespan.
Azizinamini said the initiative would give UNL international exposure for its bridge technology and showcase unique bridges in Nebraska. The nation's first bridges made from high-performance steel are in Grand Island, Snyder and Omaha. Much of the groundbreaking research on high-performance steel was the result of collaboration between UNL, the Nebraska Department of Roads and the Federal Highway Administration, he said.
"These activities are the reason why the Republic of Korea selected UNL to be its U.S. partner," Azizinamini said. "Our selection was not a coincidence."
The NaBRO research team includes faculty from University of California, San Diego; Purdue University, University of Missouri- Rolla and University of Michigan.