The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has started requiring its engineers to complete Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) education courses as part of their training. Caltrans is one of the largest state departments of transportation in the nation, managing more than 50,000 miles of California’s highways.
“These courses, some of which were sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and balloted by PCI, were selected because they offer excellent learning materials related to bridge design,” said Rizia da Cruz Ferreira, a transportation engineer at Caltrans. Started in the 1960s, the Caltrans Bridge Design Academy takes seven weeks to complete and covers bridge design, project delivery, and project engineering topics such as load rating, maintenance design, environmental engineering, planning, accelerated bridge construction, quality, and risk management.
Caltrans requires its engineers to complete 10 courses in its academy. All are based on PCI publications and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) Specification. All courses are available at the PCI Learning Center. The are a variety of topics in the 28 free transportation-related modules for precast, prestressed concrete bridge solutions.
“Workforce development is a major concern for many state highway agencies,” said William Nickas, PCI’s managing director, transportation systems. “It’s nice to see state highway official taking note of the workforce development resources available in the PCI eLearning Center and sending their staff to complete these courses. I expect PCI will see an increase in the number of participants using this professional development hours (PDH) learning management system.”
California is one eight states with more than 30% of its state roads classified as poor, according to the Federal Highway Administration. The state has the second highest number of bridges in the nation.
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