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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > October 2002 > A Hydraulics How To
October 2002Publication Number: FHWA-RD-02-015

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A Hydraulics How To

Technologies and techniques for designing highways that cross or encroach on rivers is the subject of a new National Highway Institute (NHI) course, "River Engineering for Highway Encroachments" (No. 135010).

The 3-day course teaches participants how to:

  • Apply open channel flow equations and concepts to the design and evaluation of highway hydraulic structures.
  • Determine resistance to flow and sediment transport at highway crossings.
  • Determine the stability or potential instability of rivers at highway encroachments and crossings and identify countermeasures for addressing the potential instability.
  • Integrate river mechanics, equations, concepts, and principles into the design, maintenance, evaluation, and inspection of highways in a river environment.
  • Design riprap (a layer or facing of rock or broken concrete) to control river bank erosion.

Engineering for highways in a river environment is also covered in a new Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reference manual, River Engineering for Highway Encroachments (Publication No. FHWA-NHI-01-004), which is used in the NHI course. The manual, which is an update of the 1990 Highways in the River Environment manual, details such topics as river stabilization and bank protection, bridge scour, data needs, sediment transport, river morphology, and design considerations. For more information on the NHI course or the reference manual, contact Phil Thompson at FHWA, 202-366-4611 (email: A copy of the manual can be downloaded from or obtained from the FHWA Report Center at email: for a nominal fee. The NHI course will be held December 3-5 in Columbia, South Carolina. For more information, contact Karen Long at 803-737-1525. To schedule the course, contact Dr. Peter Lagasse at Ayres Associates, 970-223-5556 (email: or Danielle Mathis-Lee at NHI, 703-235-0528 (email:

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Updated: 02/20/2015

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