Preparing workforce for state-of-the-art bridge construction

Contact: Deanne Puca

KALAMAZOO--Building bridges quicker, safer and with better quality components will be the focus of a workshop on the campus of Western Michigan University.

Bridge engineers, contractors and decision-makers are invited to attend the workshop from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, March 13-14, at the Fetzer Center. The event revolves around accelerated bridge construction using prefabricated components.

Compared to traditional bridge construction, supporters of prefabricated systems tout such advantages as minimal traffic disruption and on-site construction time, improved work-zone safety and better quality components.

Workshop presenters include officials from the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to present the state and national perspectives and explore available resources and associated implementation plans. The instructors from WMU will present design examples of typical bridges, note lessons learned from earlier projects, explore the constructability review process for successful implementation of ABC projects, and detail development and interpretation of special provisions.

WMU workshop instructors

Dr. Haluk Aktan, professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering. He is the principal investigator on the Michigan Department of Transportation project "Rapid Bridge Construction, Demolition and Joint Durability." He has also been the principal investigator on MDOT funded projects on performance and design of precast bridge structural systems since 1997.

Dr. Upul Attanayake, assistant professor civil and construction engineering. He has been a co-principal investigator on numerous MDOT-funded research projects on ABC and prefabricated systems. He has conducted several workshops in the United States and overseas on finite element basics and refined analysis of bridge structural systems.

Dr. Yufeng Hu, faculty associate on the MDOT-sponsored research project "Rapid Bridge Construction, Demolition and Joint Durability." He worked on numerous prestressed concrete and steel bridge designs and load rating projects while working for a consulting company, and he has served as an instructor for a short course on bridge structural analysis using finite element methods.

Cost to attend the workshop is $195. To register, contact the Center for Technology and Training at (906) 487-2102 or visit