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FHWA Home / Resource Center / Structures, Geotechnical, and Hydraulics Team / Training

Structures, Geotechnical, and Hydraulics

Training: Courses, Seminars, and Workshops

Structural Design and Construction

Course Length: 1.5 Day Training

High-strength bolted connections are a fundamental element in the connection of new and in-service steel structural members. The High-Strength Structural Bolting Workshop is designed to assist the Department of Transportation (DOT) state construction and maintenance operation staff to develop a basic knowledge of bolted joint design, construction inspection procedures, and installation methods for high-strength bolts. All high-strength bolt installations must meet the requirements of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) Bridge Construction Specifications and/or state DOT specifications. This workshop will allow participants to advance their understanding of the theory and application of structural bolting and bolted connections.

To schedule, contact:
Jamal Elkaissi, P.E., jamal.elkaissi@dot.gov / (303) 815-9128

Course Length: 1-2 Days

Application of the AASHTO Specifications for seismic design. This course teaches how to apply the AASHTO approach to dynamic analysis and how AASHTO simulates “plastic” design concepts. Also, applicable detailing requirements are discussed.

Purpose and Background:
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recently approved two major changes to the seismic design of highway bridges. The first updates seismic provisions in the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications, and the second adopts a new Guide Specification for LRFD Seismic Bridge Design.

The updated seismic provisions in the 2007 edition of the LRFD specifications relate to:
(1) changing the return period of the design earthquake from 500 years to 1000 years; and
(2) keeping the specifications up-to-date and in-line with recent developments in the seismic design of bridges.

The change in return period for characterizing the seismic hazard required changing the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) maps. These new maps not only give peak ground acceleration (PGA) but also two additional values of the spectral acceleration [at 0.2 seconds (Ss) and 1.0 second (S1)] allowing an improved spectral shape to be used for defining the seismic response coefficient. Consequential changes include new zone boundaries, soil factors, minimum design forces, introduction of P-∆ requirements, and a revised Ø factor for flexural resistance. In addition, new site soil classifications have been introduced.

The new Guide Specification for LRFD Seismic Bridge Design is an alternate, stand alone, set of provisions for the seismic design of bridges. The major difference between these provisions and those in the updated LRFD Bridge Design Specifications is the methodology used for determining design forces. Various displacement limit states are investigated. Accordingly, the R-factors in the current Guide Specification for LRFD Seismic Bridge Design are not used for concrete design. Since this methodology focuses on displacement, it is often referred to as “displacement based.” By contrast, the LRFD specifications are “force based.” Displacement based procedures are widely believed to lead to more efficient designs preventing collapse in high seismic zones. The anticipated effect of this new design methodology is improved performance of bridges during small and large earthquakes.

Seminar Benefits:
Apply the AASHTO Guide Specifications for LRFD Seismic Bridge Design
Learn more about the basis for the new design earthquake hazard of a 7.5 percent probability of exceedance in 75 years (i.e., 1000 year return period)
Understand and apply the principals of displacement based seismic design
Identify seismic vulnerabilities in existing bridge as observed in past earthquakes
Understand basic structural dynamics and the earthquake response of bridges
Develop alternative analytical models to determine the seismic response of a bridge using the available seismic design strategies
Learn about the computer programs specifically developed and used for seismic design, Specifications for LRFD Seismic Bridge Design

Learning Outcomes:
Apply analysis techniques to design of new bridges.
Apply the “AASHTO Guide Specifications for LRFD Seismic Bridge Design” to the design and analysis of new bridges

Who Should Attend:
Structural design engineers who are responsible for designing highway bridges will benefit from this workshop. Attendees should be engineers with seismic design experience.

To schedule, contact:
Jeffrey Ger, Ph.D., P.E., jeffrey.ger@dot.gov / (202) 868-3788

Course Length: 2.5 days (in-person) or 4-half days (virtual).

This workshop is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration in cooperation with your local State Department of Transportation. The workshop will provide engineers the fundamentals of bridge analysis, design, and construction.

The workshop will introduce the common bridge types and components, current bridge condition in the US, bridge failures, and bridge preliminary design requirements. It will explain the key steps for the analysis and design of major bridge components, which should help new bridge designers gain the fundamental bridge analysis and design knowledge. In addition, the workshop will demonstrate the typical construction of foundations, superstructures, deck placement, and illustrate the importance of bridge construction QC/QA. The training will be useful to new bridge designers with an understanding of bridge preliminary design, final analysis and design, and general knowledge of construction.

To schedule, contact:
Jeffrey Ger, Ph.D., P.E., Jeffrey.Ger@dot.gov / (202) 868-3788

Course Length: one day (in-person) or 2-half days (virtual).


Welding is a fundamental process in the fabrication of steel highway structures. However, engineers and construction technicians have very little exposure to welding concepts, definitions, applicable specifications, and inspection requirements for welded details found steel highway structures across the country.

Steel highway structural welding is typically performed to one of two recognized codes:

  • The American Welding Society (AWS) D1.1M/D1.1 Structural Welding Code - Steel.
  • The American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) / AWS D1.5M/D1.5 Bridge Welding Code.

Unless engineers and technicians are directly involved with steel fabrication, they are rarely exposed to basic weld methods, processes, procedures and inspection methods required to ensure weld quality. The quality of welds can significantly impact fatigue resistance and service life of steel highway structures. The intent of the workshop is to assist engineers and technicians with the basic requirements of the two welding code so they have a better understanding of how the they handle welded joints, welding procedure specifications, welder qualification, and weld inspection requirements. The course also touches on effects of heat on base and weld metal metallurgy and fracture control concepts.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this training, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the effect of heat on base and weld metal metallurgy.
  • Differentiate different welding processes.
  • Explain weld types, configurations, and preparation required to ensure weld quality.
  • Describe and differentiate between welding procedure specification (WPS), WPS and other welding qualification requirements.
  • List welding inspection requirements as per AWS and AASHTO Specifications.
  • Summarize welding considerations to be incorporated in bridge design and to the fracture control plan.

To schedule, contact:
Justin Ocel, Ph.D., P.E., Justin.Ocel@dot.gov / (202) 281-8213


Structures Inspection Management and Preservation

Course length: 2.5 days

Course Overview
The FHWA SNBI training is a two-day course deployed as an in-person, instructor-led training. The training offers participants the opportunity to share experiences and gauge their understanding of the material through knowledge checks and exercises. Although some background in bridge inspection is desired, it is not mandatory as concepts are presented based on expected variable-levels of participant experience. The training provides an overview of the SNBI and its expected use, and delves into the concept of data sets, including categorized data items, item codes, and applicability.

Target Audience
This training is tailored for bridge inspection program personnel responsible for collecting, documenting, and reporting bridge inventory data as well as those that utilize the data for bridge asset management. This could include bridge inspection program managers, bridge inspection team leaders, bridge inspection team members, load raters, load permit evaluators, bridge maintenance personnel, roadside safety hardware specialists, data analysts, and bridge asset managers for State DOTs, local agencies, Federal agencies, Tribal governments, consultants, and FHWA.

Course Goals
This training is developed to provide the target audience with the knowledge to collect, document, store, maintain, and report NBI data to FHWA in accordance with the SNBI.

Course Outcomes
At the end of this training, participants will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of the NBI
  • Explain the expectations for use of the SNBI
  • Identify data sets and their relationships
  • Discuss the applicability of data items
  • Apply the appropriate data item codes
  • Recognize the anticipated timeline for SNBI implementation

To schedule, contact:
Larry O'Donnell, P.E., Larry.O'Donnell@dot.gov / (708)574-8135

Training is based on the AASHTO Manual for Bridge Element Inspection, 2nd Edition, 2019 and provides introductory training on element level inspection of in-service highway bridges.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

Explain the following terms:

  1. Explain the following terms:
    • Component vs. Element vs. Safety Inspection Data
    • Elements (NBE, BME, ADE)
      • Element Environments
      • Element Condition States
      • Element Defects
    • Structures and Structure Units
  2. Explain the rules and conventions for identifying and quantifying elements
  3. Interpret condition state language
  4. Review as-built plans to identify bridge elements and determine appropriate units and quantities for elements
  5. Interpret condition state language based on visual observations and quantify and record observations
  6. Explain why bridge management is important
  7. Explain how element level data supports bridge management
  8. Identify areas of inconsistency and/or differing interpretations
  9. Suggest areas for clarification or further guidance

Course Length: 1-day or 1.5-day in-person training format.

The 1-day version excludes the field exercise and learning outcomes F, G, and H shown above are not fully addressed.

The 1.5-day version excludes the field exercise but covers all the learning outcomes.

Course Length: 2-day in-person training format

The 2-day version includes a field exercise, which takes additional time and coordination between the host and instructors prior to training delivery.

Course Length: 3, 1/2-days virtual via Adobe Connect.

To schedule, contact:
Larry O'Donnell, P.E., Larry.O'Donnell@dot.gov / (708)574-8135

National Highway Institute (NHI): Available Structures, Geotechnical, and Hydraulics Courses

As the training arm of the FHWA, the National Highway Institute offers a variety of courses under the Structures, Geotechnical and Hydraulics Program Areas.

A recently updated training, NHI Course 135090 “Hydraulic Design of Safe Bridges” equips managers, designers, and reviewers with essential knowledge and skills in hydraulics design, focusing on bridge hydraulic analysis, scour elevation, and design considerations to ensure the integrity and longevity of bridge structure. View the course flyer to learn more information.

To learn more about Structures, Geotechnical, and Hydraulics course offerings through NHI, please visit the NHI website and enter the search criteria under “Choose Program Area Options.”

To learn more about scheduling a course, please contact the NHI:

Phone (Local): (703) 235-0500
Phone (Toll-free): 1-877-558-6873