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Public Roads - Winter 2020

Winter 2020
Issue No:
Vol. 83 No. 4
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Training Update

Training for Load and Resistance Factor Rating of Highway Bridges

by Dr. Melonie Barrington and Alana Welch

Load and resistance factor rating (LRFR) is a methodology closely aligned with load and resistance factor design (LRFD) for new highway bridges. While LRFD specifications focus on the design of bridges, LRFR takes a parallel track aimed at determining the load ratings for existing in-service bridges.

To help States successfully implement LRFR, in 2009 the Federal Highway Administration developed Fundamentals of LRFR and Applications of LRFR for Bridge Superstructures (FHWA-NHI-130092), offered by the National Highway Institute (NHI). NHI designed the course to provide State agencies and consulting engineers with the training they needed to implement this new method effectively based on a core curriculum in the fundamentals and applications of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) LRFR specifications.

With an increasing number of States implementing LRFR, NHI recently overhauled the course to reflect modifications and revisions made over the last decade to AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications (AASHTO LRFD) and the AASHTO Manual for Bridge Evaluation (MBE). Now titled Load and Resistance Factor Rating of Highway Bridges, this course is designed in accordance with the AASHTO MBE, 3rd Edition (2018 with 2019 Interim Revisions), and the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications, 8th Edition.

Designed for the Modern Workforce

The newly updated course includes brief lessons in an additional six topics at the end of each instructional day and a revision to the end-of-course assessment that ensures participants are receiving the latest possible information about LRFR bridge ratings. The six new topics are load rating of timber bridges, State load rating policies and procedures, State load posting and permitting policies and procedures, load rating of reinforced concrete box culverts, load rating of superstructures, and load rating of gusset plates.

The content covered in this 4-day course is designed to provide both the foundational knowledge needed by less experienced engineers and the technical rigor and expertise needed by seasoned professionals.

NHI suggests this course for State agency bridge and structures engineers or practitioners responsible for load rating of highway bridges, including designers, consultants, reviewers, maintenance and management engineers, and load raters.

While there are no prerequisites for this course, it is best suited for professionals who have taken NHI LRFD for Highway Bridge Superstructures (course 130081). Individuals attending this course should have at least a bachelor of science in civil engineering, a working knowledge of the current MBE and AASHTO LRFD specifications, and relevant experience using these specifications on at least one load rating project.

For more information, visit To register for a course or to sign up for alerts when a course session is scheduled, visit the individual course description page and select the "Sign Up for Session Alerts" link.

How to Host or Attend a Training Course

NHI invites professionals interested in earning continuing education units or professional development hours to visit to browse the complete digital course catalog, which lists more than 400 courses spanning 18 program areas. Interested hosts can submit a Host Request Form or find more information about hosting NHI 130092.

NHI is approved as an Accredited Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). As an IACET Accredited Provider, NHI offers continuing education units for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

States are increasingly implementing load and resistance factor rating on highway bridges. The National Highway Institute offers a course to help engineers at all levels understand this methodology.

Melonie Barrington is a training program manager and Alana Welch is a contractor for NHI.