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Steel Bridges: Substructure Design

COURSE NO: S08-005
COURSE PROVIDER: Donald Parnell, P.E.
Steel Bridges: Substructure Design
Course Highlights

This online engineering PDH course provides basic information on substructure and foundation design, substructure design software, seismic design, precast substructures, soil-structure interaction, and superstructure-substructure interaction for steel bridges.


Many factors influence the selection of substructure and foundation materials, types, configurations, positions, and orientations. Often, existing constraints will limit the range of options and intrinsically lead the designer to only one or a few feasible solutions. Some of these constraints are discussed in this course. Some are obvious and some are subtle; some are routine, and some occur only rarely; but all are important and should be considered in each bridge project.


This course will provide an overview of various foundation types including both shallow foundations (such as spread footings) and deep foundations (such as those utilizing piles or drilled shafts). It will also present considerations for the design and detailing of conventional, integral, and semi-integral abutments, as well as considerations for pier selection and the design and detailing of multi-column piers, single column piers, pile bents, straddle bents, and integral pier caps.


This 8 PDH online course is applicable to structural engineers and other technical professionals who are interested in learning about substructure design for steel bridges.
Learning Objectives

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

  • Familiarizing with factors influencing substructure type selection
  • Familiarizing with the types of foundations (shallow, deep) and their general design considerations
  • Learning about the specific design considerations for piles and drilled shafts for deep foundations
  • Understanding the design considerations for conventional abutment, integral abutment, and semi-integral abutment
  • Learning about pier types, their selection process and general design considerations
  • Learning about software availability for substructure design
  • Gaining a general overview on seismic analysis of substructures for steel bridges
  • Gaining a general overview on precast and innovative substructures, and superstructure / substructure interactions
Course Document
In this professional engineering CEU course, you need to review the course document titled, "Steel Bridges: Substructure Design”, which is based on the U.S Department of Transportation document “Steel Bridge Design Handbook: Substructure Design”, publication no. FHWA-HIF-16-002 - Vol. 16. 
To view, print and study the course document, please click on the following link(s):
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 the entire document.
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: