Using HEC-RAS to Model Bridges, Culverts, and Floodplains

Upcoming dates (2)

Jul. 23-25, 2024

Madison, WI or Live Online

Course Overview

In this course, you will:

  • Update and improve your proficiency in flood analysis.
  • Learn how to evaluate and use different HEC-RAS program options.
  • Understand assumptions and applications for bridge modeling methods.
  • Learn how to use program solutions for mixed flow, multiple culverts, and bridge openings.
  • Benefit from hands-on applications throughout the course.

No prior experience with HEC-RAS is required.

Who Should Attend?

This course will benefit engineers or other professionals who have experience with hydraulic studies and investigations.

Additional Information

The class includes lectures and hands-on computer workshops that will give you a solid understanding of the theory behind the model as well as a practical ability to work the model effectively. We will use the current version of HEC-RAS.  In addition to the program itself, you’ll receive valuable resources and references.    

For either the on-line or in-person course, you will need a windows laptop that has:

  • A high-speed internet connection
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader or other reader to be able to open and read PDFs
  • Microsoft Excel

Click here to get information on all of our HEC-RAS related courses.

Course Outline

Note that the course is offered in two different formats:

Our fully Online format:

  • Offered over 6 weeks, with pre-recorded content, exercises, and a 1.5 hour Live session each week.
  • A recording will be made available of the live session for those who cannot attend.
  • Participants should expect to spend 2-4 hours per week on the course.
  • This format offers significant flexibility for working professionals and can accommodate a variety of schedules.

Our HyFlex format is offered in “Madison, WI or Live Online”

  • This format is offered Live over 3 consecutive days from 9am-5pm Central Time
  • Participants must select whether they will attend In-Person (in Madison, WI) or online.
  • For those who wish to review content after the course, pre-recorded content will be made available for approximately 1 month after the 3-day session concludes (We are unable to provide a recording of the 3-day session itself).


Online Course Schedule (Offered over 6 weeks)

  • Week 1, Topic 1: River Modeling Basic Concepts and Geometry Data
  • Week 2, Topic 2: Flow Data and HEC-RAS Modeling
  • Week 3, Topic 3: Bridge Modeling Using HEC-RAS
  • Week 4, Topic 4: Culvert Modeling Using HEC-RAS
  • Week 5, Topic 5: Introduction to RAS Mapper and 2D Modeling
  • Week 6, Topic 6: Output Review and Analysis


HyFlex (In-person and Online) Course Schedule (Offered over 3 consecutive days)

Day 1

  • Calculating Water Surface Profiles

o   Concepts of open channel flow and floodplain hydraulics

o   Energy principles

o   Flow resistance equations

o   Momentum concepts

  • HEC-RAS Modeling - Geometry

o   Geometric and flow data

o   Program options

o   Sources of data

  • Developing a Geometry Model with HEC-RAS: Workshop

o   Starting HEC-RAS

o   Steps in developing a hydraulic model

o   Starting a new project

o   Entering geometric data

o   Entering steady flow data

o   Performing the hydraulic computations

o   Viewing and printing results

o   Getting and using help

  • HEC-RAS Modeling: Flow Data, Compute Profiles, and View Results

o   Define steady-flow data and boundary conditions

o   Perform hydraulic computations

o   View graphics and tables

  • Calculation of Water Surface Profiles: Workshop

o   How to enter data into HEC-RAS

o   How to perform the hydraulic computations

o   Viewing results

  • Review Workshop

o   Viewing results

o   Cross-section plots

o   Profile plot

o   X-Y-Z plot

o   Summary tables

o   Errors, warnings, and notes

o   Output review for workshop

  • Geometry Options

o   Multiple plan analysis

o   Optional friction loss equations

o   Cross-section interpolation

o   Mixed flow regime calculations

o   Modeling stream junctions

o   Flow distribution calculations

  • Bridge Modeling with HEC-RAS

o   Nature of flow through bridges

o   Components of bridge losses

o   Cross-section locations

o   Defining ineffective flow areas

o   Contraction and expansion losses

  • HEC-RAS Bridge Input-Output

o   Entering and editing bridge data

o   Defining a bridge modeling approach

o   Bridge modeling options

o   Example bridge application

o   Pertinent bridge output

Day 2

  • Bridge Modeling Workshop 

o   Entering and editing bridge data

o   Performing bridge hydraulic computations

o   Reviewing pertinent results

  • Bridge Workshop Review

o   Overview of Culvert Hydraulics

o   Definition of terms

o   Input requirements

o   Cross-section locations

o   Ineffective flow areas

o   Expansion and contraction coefficients

o   Inlet control

o   Outlet control

o   Solution logic

  • Culvert Modeling with HEC-RAS

o   Cross-section locations

o   Multiple culvert options

o   Program output

  • Culvert Modeling Workshop

o   Entering and editing culvert data

o   Culvert modeling options

o   Example culvert applications

Day 3

  • RAS Mapper 

o   RAS Mapper Overview

o   Setting the projection file

o   Adding a terrain model

o   Preprocessing 1D elements

o   Viewing results in RAS Mapper 

  • 2-D Basics in HEC-RAS 

o   Principles of quasi-steady flow modeling

o   Adding a 2D area

o   Manning's "n" values for 2D areas

o   Entering flow data for 2D areas

o   Running a 2D model and reviewing results

  • RAS Mapper and 2D Workshop

o   Set the projection file and create terrain

o   Create a 2D area

o   Run the 2D model and review results 

  • Output Review and Analysis

o   How to interpret HEC-RAS output messages (errors, warnings, and notes)

o   Diagnosing common data input mistakes

o   Using the HEC-RAS "log file" to understand more about the computations and possible problems

  • HEC-RAS Output Analysis Workshop

o   Analyze HEC-RAS output

o   Resolve data model errors


Christopher Goodell

Chris Goodell is the Principal Consultant for H&H at Kleinschmidt Associates and works out of the Portland Oregon office.  He is a registered professional engineer and diplomate of water resources engineering.  Chris has over 28 years of experience in water resources engineering with a specialization in computational hydraulics and probabilistic modeling, and teaching HEC-RAS to professionals and students around the world. He is a former developer of HEC-RAS and is the author of the blog The RAS Solution, the book “Breaking the HEC-RAS Code, and co-host of the Full Momentum podcast.”    Chris has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Oregon State University and a master’s degree in hydraulic engineering from IHE Delft in The Netherlands. 

Upcoming dates (2)

Program Director

Adib Amini

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