Montana Tech Faculty and Students Team up with National Forest Products Laboratory to Produce Bridge Inspection Manual

Research Engineers at The U.S.D.A., F.S., National Forest Products Laboratory have been working with Montana Tech faculty and students. After a multi-year effort, they recently released a bridge inspection manual titled, “Evaluating Fire-Damaged Components of Historic Covered Bridges (FPL-GTR-243).”

Recently, James Groenier, a Professional Engineer and a Multi-Regional Bridge Inspection Program Manager for the Forest Service Regions 1, 2, 3, & 4, has seen a need and reached out to Brian and others on his team. According to James, "With all the wildfire happenings in the west and having over 3000 timber bridges on National Forest roads, it would be good to have more information on assessing post-fire timber bridges.” Once the word got out, this resulted in delivery to regional and county bridge engineers across the U.S. These types of publications are also sent to hundreds of libraries and elsewhere. Brian Kukay, associate professor and director of the Civil Engineering Program at Montana Tech notes, “Montana Tech will continue to gain some really good exposure as a result of these very positive internal and external collaborations.”

Coverage includes existing and exploratory approaches that can be used for general guidance and for a select number of more specific treatments to approximate the residual capacity of fire damaged members. Topics such as fire-retardant treatments and other measures to prevent future fire damage are also discussed. The team of authors from Montana Tech are faculty members: Brian Kukay, Civil Engineering; Chip Todd, Statistics; and former Montana Tech graduates, Ty Jahn, Jenson Sannon, and Logan Dunlap. Co-authors from the National Forest Products Laboratory are Mark Dietenberger and Robert White (posthumously). The Authors also acknowledge the many contributions of, Sheila Rimal Duwadi (U.S.D.O.T. F.H.W.A.), and James Wacker, Mike Ritter, Carol Clausen, and Bob Ross-all of the N.F.P.L. For more information, please contact Brian Kukay at 406-496-4517.