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Next-generation hydraulic modeling tools: Advancing the state of practice for hydraulic engineers, improving the understanding of complex interactions between river environments and transportation assets
Proceedings of the 2023 Mississippi Water Resources Conference

Year: 2023 Authors: Westerfield R.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) bridge hydraulic design has evolved significantly over the past ten years by using the emerging two-dimensional (2D) hydraulic modeling software. Two-dimensional (2D) hydraulic modeling software, graphical interfaces, and supporting resources are available that can be applied to infrastructure design to improve understanding of the complex interactions between river or coastal environments and transportation assets. Recent advances in computer hardware, modeling software, Geographic Information Systems, and survey practices have made 2D modeling very efficient, intuitive, and accessible to engineers and designers. This emerging technology provides the following benefits:

  • Improved Quality and Resiliency. 2D modeling results provide more accurate representations of flow conditions, including depths and velocities. Improved project quality may often be realized by using 2D modeling results to inform the location and size of structures, determine depths of bridge foundations, and analyze environmental impacts.
  • Enhanced Collaboration. 3D graphical visualizations derived from 2D modeling offer better tools for communicating the often complex interaction between waterways, the transportation infrastructure, and the surrounding environment.
  • Streamlined Delivery. Improved collaboration can help streamline project development, including environmental, regulatory, and engineering activities.
Rachel currently serves as lead Drainage Engineer for Gresham Smith across the Transportation Market. She started her career at the Mississippi Dept. of Transportation in Bridge Division in 2003 and served as the State Hydraulic Engineer for seven years before moving into the private sector. Rachel has completed hydraulic design in Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky and continues to sharpen her knowledge and experience as the hydraulic engineering field is continually expanding and changing. She has experience in bridge hydraulic analysis and design, federal regulatory compliance, bridge hydraulic modeling, risk and impact assessments, stream stability, and scour analysis.

Bachelor of Science, Biological Engineering, Mississippi State University

Licensed Professional Engineer: MS, TN, GA, KY, LA

ASFPM Certified Flood Plain Manager (CFM)

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