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Shallow Foundation Design for Highway Bridges

Vincent D. Reynolds, MBA, PE

The Federal Highway Administration defines shallow foundations as, “a foundation that bears at a depth less than about two times the foundation width.” The definition may vary however the engineering design procedures are very similar for various shallow foundations. Due to their depth, the shallow foundations transfer loads to the ground surface at a shallow depth unlike deep foundations.

Shallow foundation design occurs during the first stages of design for highway bridges. There are various types of shallow foundations, including isolated spread footings, continuous strip spread footings, and spread footings with cantilever stem walls. The underlying soil conditions, types of soil and depth of foundations are all interconnected in the design process for shallow foundations.

This course will cover the design procedures, soil mechanics and other essential information regarding the design of shallow foundations for highway bridges. Shallow foundation design for buildings will also be covered. Case studies and design examples will be presented to aid in understanding the course material.

The student will be directed to study the document “Shallow Foundations,” as published on the website of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.