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News|College of Engineering & Applied Science

Dean Rob Ettema Elected Fellow of IPENZ

May 23, 2012 — Dean Rob Ettema was recently elected a Fellow of the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ), for his contribution to the advancement of practices in the field of bridge engineering. 

A New Zealand native, Ettema's primary focus is in the design of bridges for river crossings.  Bridge washout during floods is the leading cause of bridge failures worldwide.  Owing to its rugged terrain and relatively low population, New Zealand has more river-crossing bridges per capita than most countries.  Consequently, the country spends a considerable amount of its transportation-infrastructure funds protecting and maintaining these structures.

Ettema is responsible for developing improved bridge design methods that are now being adopted as standard design procedures by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, similar agencies in New Zealand, and at additional locations around the globe.  Most recently, he and a panel of engineers completed a state-of-the-art review of current bridge waterway design for the U.S. Transportation Research Board. 

Research on bridge performance during floods continues today at the University of Wyoming's College of Engineering and Applied Science.  Ettema, UW faculty colleagues, and students have studied how bridge abutments and piers fail during flood flows.  They have utilized special laboratory techniques to diagnose specifically what causes bridge failure during these periods of heavy water flow.  These previously un-performed experiments are funded by the Mountain Plains Consortium, a transportation-research program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation.


For additional information on the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand, please visit:


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