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Hydraulics of Bridge Waterways

COURSE NO: C08-017
Hydraulics of Bridge Waterways
Course Highlights

This online engineering PDH course updates the previous edition of "Hydraulics of Bridge Waterways" published by FHWA in 1960. It contains revisions to some of the design curves in the first edition. It also contains new topics which include partially inundated superstructures, the proportioning of spur dikes at bridge abutments, and supercritical flow under a bridge, together with examples and an appendix. This course will provide the knowledge to analyze the hydraulics of bridge waterways.


The hydraulics of bridge waterways should be analyzed by the designer in order to ensure that upstream properties are not affected or the bridge doesn't fail due to flooding or scour. The constriction of the bridge structure causes a constriction to the flow. This constriction causes a loss of energy, which is reflected in a rise in the water surface.


With the high volume of roadway traffic and the real estate that can be potentially affected upstream, it is essential that the bridge is designed as to not cause a rise or a significant rise in upstream water levels. A failure of a bridge due to excessive backwater can cause backwater damage suits, overtopping of roadways, excessive scour under the bridge and costly maintenance.


This 8 PDH online course is applicable to civil, geotechnical, structural, transportation and environmental engineers, hydrologists, flood plain managers, municipal engineers and all other professionals interested in the hydraulics of bridge waterways.

Learning Objectives

This PE continuing education course is intended to provide you with the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • Understanding how confining flood waters can cause backwater
  • Learning about the three types of flow encountered in bridge waterway design
  • Determining the backwater coefficient
  • Understanding how dual bridges are analyzed for backwater
  • Determining the manning coefficient
  • Knowing the factors that affect water stage at bridge sites
  • Understanding how piers in a bridge constriction affect backwater
  • Learning about design storms used to design bridges and culverts
  • Determining eccentricity
  • Understanding how abutments have an effect on backwater
Course Document

In this professional engineering CEU course, you need to review the Federal Highway Administration Publication (FHWA) HDS-1, "Hydraulics of Bridge Waterways".

To view, print and study the course document, please click on the following link(s):
Hydraulics of Bridge Waterways (4.1 MB)
Course Quiz
Once you complete your course review, you need to take a multiple-choice quiz consisting of forty (40) questions to earn 8 PDH credits. The quiz will be based on this FHWA Publication.


The minimum passing score is 70%. There is no time limit on the quiz, and you can take it multiple times until you pass at no additional cost.
Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of the quiz, print your Certificate of Completion instantly. (Note: if you are paying by check or money order, you will be able to print it after we receive your payment.) For your convenience, we will also email it to you. Please note that you can log in to your account at any time to access and print your Certificate of Completion.

To buy the course and take the quiz, please click on: