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James P. Wacker

James P. Wacker
Research General Engineer
Engineering Properties of Wood, Wood Based Materials and Structures
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
United States
Research Interest
  • Investigating innovative inspection tools and techniques
  • Smart bridge technologies to support long-term performance monitoring
  • Design approaches for timber bridge structures
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bachelor Of Science, Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Professional Organizations
  • Friends Of The Committee,  Transportation Research Board,  2010 - Current
  • Member,  Forest Products Society (FPS),  2005 - Current
    Served as Past Chair for FPS Midwest Section, Served on FPS Awards Committee
  • Registered Professional Engineer,  State of Wisconsin,  2004 - Current
  • Member,  American Society of Civil Engineers - Structural Engineering Institute,  2003 - Current
    Served as Past Chair for Timber Bridge Technical Committee, Served as Past Chair of Bridges Technical Advisory Committee
  • Member,  American Indian Science and Engineering Society,  1992 - Current
    Served as Judge for Student Science Fair Competition
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Smart timber bridge on geo-synthetic reinforced soil abutments

Year: 2017
Forest Service researchers partnered in the construction and monitoring of an innovative bridge abutment system, developed to be lower cost and faster to construct with improved performance and durability as compared to other abutments. In addition, the next generation of smart bridge concepts for ...

Assessing the ability of ground-penetrating radar to detect internal moisture and fungal decay

Year: 2017
Internal moisture and fungal decay are detected in structural bridge members using ground penetrating radar for faster evaluation of timber bridges.

Laboratory Evaluation of Salvaged Bridge Girders from U.S. Route 66

Year: 2018
Timber bridges have been in-service for nearly nine decades along Southern California's Historic Route 66 National Trails Highway.  Several untreated sawn timber stringers were recently salvaged and transported to the FPL for a laboratory investigation.

Durable, Cost-Effective Timber Bridges

Year: 2020
Timber bridge design advances support construction of cost-effective and durable timber bridges.

America's Historic Covered Timber Bridges

Year: 2011
Covered wooden bridges proliferated in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. Today an estimated 800 covered bridge structures remain as cherished links to the technological heritage of the United States. The through-truss designs vary from the Kingpost trusses built in the craft tradition...

Keeping America's Historic Covered Bridges Safe for Vehicular Traffic

Year: 2013
The Forest Products Laboratory, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration and the National Park Service is sponsoring a comprehensive research program on Historic Covered Timber Bridges in the United States. This national program's main purpose is to develop improved methods to preserve...

Scientists Study True Longevity of Timber Highway Bridges

Year: 2013
Do timber bridges last longer than concrete or steel bridges in similar climates� This national project aims to generate more reliable data about the true longevity of timber bridges in the U.S. and allows for more accurate life-cycle assessments in the future.

Centennial Edition, Wood Handbook—Wood as an Engineering Material

Year: 2010
The Wood Handbook—Wood as an Engineering Material serves as a primary reference document for a wide variety of users-from the general public through architects and design engineers who use wood in highly engineered structures.