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Teaching the Next Generation of Bridge Engineers

Jim Guarre, BergerABAM senior vice president, is lead instructor for the CESG 529 Bridge Engineering course.

Experienced bridge engineers from BergerABAM are back in school this summer to teach a bridge engineering class at the University of Washington (UW). The College of Engineering, Structural and Geotechnical Engineering, Course 529 [CESG 529 Bridge Engineering] is a graduate-level course in the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department at UW. The nine-week lecture series covers a variety of bridge engineering studies, including types and sizes; design load and resistance factors; seismic design; design of prestressed concrete girders, structural steel girders, decks, expansion joints and bearings, crossbeams, columns, foundations, and abutments; and bridge construction practices.

Six of BergerABAM’s in-house bridge experts are teaching the course over the span of 17 sessions, including lead instructor Jim Guarre who brings over 50 years of experience in the industry and Dr. Lee Marsh, a nationally recognized professional in the seismic analysis and design of bridges. The group of instructors also includes senior project manager, Chuck Spry; project managers, Stuart Bennion and Greg Banks; and senior construction project manager, Bob Lee. Besides having two UW alumni on the teaching board (and, yes, one Cougar), BergerABAM has had a long-standing relationship with the UW CEE structural engineering faculty regarding subjects and research related to bridge design and construction.

The CESG 529 Bridge Engineering course aims to provide students with a broader knowledge of bridge engineering in the United States and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Load and Resistance Factor Bridge Design Specifications [AASHTO LRFD, 8th Edition, 2017]. After completing the course, graduate students should have a greater understanding of bridge engineering that will allow them to design and prepare construction documents for typical prestressed concrete and steel girder bridges.

According to Jim Guarre, the objective of the course goes beyond the design: “This course is intended to show students that developing calculations is only part of the story; the rest of the story is developing constructible [including biddable, administrable during construction, buildable, and functional] designs, and communicating these designs to owners and builders.”

For more information about bridge engineering courses and other current UW classes, visit