Seismic Design of Bridges Training Course and Manual


Seismic design of bridges training course & manual

Neel-Schaffer was asked by MDOT’s Bridge Division to provide a training course and design manual to supplement the skill set and design expertise of its in-house engineering staff.  This course and training manual focused on displacement-based seismic design of bridges and software required for this task. Taught by structural engineer Xan Cutcliff, PE, and titled “Seismic Design Training Course,” the course was intended for bridge design engineers who had a need to design and detail bridge structures and geotechnical features in accordance with the AASHTO Guide Specifications for the LRFD Seismic Design.

This course was designed to provide an introduction to displacement-based seismic design concepts, to provide a systematic method of designing bridges according to the Guide Specifications, and to provide an opportunity to apply the newly adopted MDOT Seismic Design Policy Manual for Highway Bridges.

The main resources used for course development were nationally recognized publications published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National Highway Institute (NHI), and the United States Geological Survey  (USGS).  These reference materials, among others, served the role of providing state-of-the-art consensus information and background documentation on seismic design of bridges.  This course was not intended to be a replacement or an alternative to the courses taught by NHI on this topic, but to be a bridge between difficult and complicated seismic design concepts and information presented in these courses, and an entry-level design professional.

The course consisted of the development of customized materials for the in-house training and multiple face-to-face classroom instruction sessions.  The materials developed as part of this course were intended to provide an accessible approach to seismic design and included a Seismic Design Training Manual, associated classroom teaching aids, a Participant Workbook, three MDOT specific seismic design examples, and a CSiBridge Training Manual.  The CSiBridge Training Manual consisted of focused software training materials for the use of CSiBridge as part of the seismic design workflow.  The specific data sets used in the CSiBridge Training Manual were based on the MDOT specific bridge types.

In the end, several documents were produced as part of this course, but the main focus and goal was to partner with the MDOT Bridge Division in meeting the training needs of its design staff, and to establish a relationship of mutually beneficial technology and knowledge transfer among design professionals in the design of safe bridges for the motoring public.

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