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 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

Online Course Schedule

Week 1 Topic 1: River Modeling Basic Concepts and Geometry Data

Week 2 Topic 2: Flow Data and HEC-RAS Modeling

Weeks 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

In-person Course Schedule


Day 1

Calculating Water Surface Profiles

  • Concepts of open channel flow and floodplain hydraulics
  • Energy principles
  • Flow resistance equations
  • Momentum concepts

HEC-RAS Modeling - Geometry

  • Geometric and flow data
  • Program options
  • Sources of data

Developing a Geometry Model with HEC-RAS: Workshop

  • Starting HEC-RAS
  • Steps in developing a hydraulic model
  • Starting a new project
  • Entering geometric data
  • Entering steady flow data
  • Performing the hydraulic computations
  • Viewing and printing results
  • Getting and using help

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

  • Define steady-flow data and boundary conditions
  • Perform hydraulic computations
  • View graphics and tables

Calculation of Water Surface Profiles: Workshop

  • How to enter data into HEC-RAS
  • How to perform the hydraulic computations
  • Viewing results

Review Workshop

  • Viewing results
  • Cross-section plots
  • Profile plot
  • X-Y-Z plot
  • Summary tables
  • Errors, warnings, and notes
  • Output review for workshop

Geometry Options

  • Multiple plan analysis
  • Optional friction loss equations
  • Cross-section interpolation
  • Mixed flow regime calculations
  • Modeling stream junctions
  • Flow distribution calculations

Bridge Modeling with HEC-RAS

  • Nature of flow through bridges
  • Components of bridge losses
  • Cross-section locations
  • Defining ineffective flow areas
  • Contraction and expansion losses

HEC-RAS Bridge Input-Output

  • Entering and editing bridge data
  • Defining a bridge modeling approach
  • Bridge modeling options
  • Example bridge application
  • Pertinent bridge output

Day 2

Bridge Modeling Workshop 

  • Entering and editing bridge data
  • Performing bridge hydraulic computations
  • Reviewing pertinent results

Bridge Workshop Review

Overview of Culvert Hydraulics

  • Definition of terms
  • Input requirements
  • Cross-section locations
  • Ineffective flow areas
  • Expansion and contraction coefficients
  • Inlet control
  • Outlet control
  • Solution logic

Culvert Modeling with HEC-RAS

  • Cross-section locations
  • Multiple culvert options
  • Program output

Culvert Modeling Workshop

  • Entering and editing culvert data
  • Culvert modeling options
  • Example culvert applications

Day 3

RAS Mapper 

  • RAS Mapper Overview
  • Setting the projection file
  • Adding a terrain model
  • Preprocessing 1D elements
  • Viewing results in RAS Mapper 

2-D Basics in HEC-RAS 

  • Principles of quasi-steady flow modeling
  • Adding a 2D area
  • Manning's "n" values for 2D areas
  • Entering flow data for 2D areas
  • Running a 2D model and reviewing results

RAS Mapper and 2D Workshop

  • Set the projection file and create terrain
  • Create a 2D area
  • Run the 2D model and review results 

Output Review and Analysis

  • How to interpret HEC-RAS output messages (errors, warnings, and notes)
  • Diagnosing common data input mistakes
  • Using the HEC-RAS "log file" to understand more about the computations and possible problems

HEC-RAS Output Analysis Workshop

  • Analyze HEC-RAS output
  • 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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