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26 Engineers Participate in Short Course on Bridge Design in Costa Rica

Participants pose for a group photo during the "Introduction to Bridge Design" short course. Instructor Paul Fossier is shown in the front in the purple shirt.

Organized through a cooperative effort between the University of Costa Rica and the University at Buffalo, Introduction to Bridge Engineering took place on June 18-22, 2012. Twenty-six engineers from the public and private sector took part in this five day course, which was led by Paul Fossier, Jr., P.E., M. ASCE. Mr. Fossier is currently the Assistant Bridge Design Administrator for Louisiana's Department of Transportation and Development and a member of AASHTO's Subcommittee on Bridge and Structures.

Mr. Fossier presented a practical course tailored to engineers working in bridge design. He drew from his education and 32 years of practical experience to explain the fundamentals of bridge design and its application, through examples, to the design of conventional concrete and steel bridges. The course included specific examples of design calculations and contract drawings. Both substructure and superstructure design were covered, using the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) LRFD Bridge Design Specifications 5th Edition as a reference.

According to one of the participants, “The topics covered during the course and the knowledge of the speaker was excellent. The understanding gained from the course is very applicable to those who work in a design office.”

The short course was held at LANAMME (National Laboratory of Materials and Structural Models), which is a non-profit research and consultancy center at the University of Costa Rica. It provides technical support to the government with regard to instruction, research and technology transfer in all areas of transportation including bridge engineering. The bridge unit was recently established to oversee the efforts of the Costa Rican government on inspection, maintenance and rehabilitation of existing bridges and the design of new bridges.

All participants were required to hold a B.S. in civil engineering from an accredited institution. The course was delivered in English with the assistance of a translator to assure an accurate transfer of concepts. Exams were also administered to assess the students’ comprehension of the material.

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