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Steel Structure Trivia: Born on the Fourth of July
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 29, 2012 at 12:22 PM.


Here’s MSC’s June Steel Structure Trivia question! This bridge shares a birthday with the U.S.A. and pioneered many firsts in the industry. Your challenge is to provide the name and location of this steel centurion.


Answer: This shot is of the historic Eads Bridge, which connects St. Louis, Mo. to East St. Louis, Ill. Congratulations to Matthew McCarty, P.E., of Whitman, Requardt & Associates, Baltimore; Jonah Sprehe-Costello of Jacobs Global Buildings, St. Louis; and Christopher Cichon of Sargent & Lundy, Chicago, for being the first three people to supply the correct answer! And thank you to all who participated.


The Eads Bridge, named for its designer, chief construction engineer and visionary champion James Buchanan Eads, officially opened on July 4, 1874. Eads, a self-taught engineer, essentially willed the bridge across the river, dealing with financing, legislative obstruction, balking steel companies and the opposing interests of ferryman, river traffic and rival Chicago. Along with the famous Gateway Arch nearby, it stands as a primary civic symbol of St. Louis.


The Eads Bridge represents a masterpiece of engineering for its time and is notable for the following:


  • First major bridge to cross the Mississippi River
  • First to make extensive use of steel and span bracing
  • First with arch spans of 500 ft
  • First to use cantilevered construction, avoiding falsework that would hinder river traffic
  • First in the U.S. to use the pneumatic caisson for deep underwater pier construction


Last month, Metro Transit, the St. Louis region’s public transportation agency, announced it will restore the Eads Bridge in what is the first extensive rehabilitation of the bridge’s support structure in its 138-year history. The work is needed to protect this national landmark and upgrade an important piece of the region’s $1.8 billion transit infrastructure so that it can continue to serve future generations. The project is expected to be completed by the fall of 2015. More information is available on Metro Transit’s blog site.


You can read more about this steel centurion in the March 2011 issue of MSC. Click here to view a PDF of the article.


You can test your steel structure knowledge right here on our MSC website on the last Friday of each month, where a new photo of a steel structure will be posted to the Steel in the News section as our weekly “Steel Shot.” Your challenge is to correctly answer the trivia question provided in the news post, based on what you see in the photo. The next question will be posted at 10 a.m. (CDT) on Friday, July 27.



The first three people who supply the correct answer will receive a MSC-branded stainless steel back scratcher! You’ll need it to successfully tackle those pesky itches after the trivia pressure subsides. (And check out that telescoping action! Wow!) Its five-fingered curved design reaches from 7 in. to 20 3/4 in. in length.



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Steel’s Up in SoCal
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 28, 2012 at 1:45 PM.

Steel framing has topped out recently for two Southern California healthcare projects.


mlk_high-res-102.jpgIt happened just last week for the new $150-million Martin Luther King, Jr. Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center in Los Angeles. Over the past few months, steelworkers installed 1,500 pieces (totaling 1,000 tons) of structural steel to create the frame for the new facility.


Photo: A steel worker secures the ceremonial steel beam to the top of the structure (click to enlarge). Photo courtesy of the office of L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.


During the topping out ceremony, Michael Wiggins, project director for general contractor McCarthy Building Companies, said, “In just six months, the contract was awarded, design was completed, permitting was obtained and topping out of the structural steel was accomplished.”


The design-build team of McCarthy and HDR Architecture, Inc. is building the new 132,550-sq.-ft facility to meet LEED Gold standards. The four-story medical facility, which broke ground in January, will house five operating rooms plus dentistry, oncology and physical and occupational therapy services. Additionally, the project will include a 31,000-sq.-ft LEED Silver-rated renovation to existing administration space.


Scheduled for an early completion in July 2013, the project is highlighted by a mix of modern green features and BIM. “The BIM process is currently in progress,” said Wiggins. “All major subcontractors participate in 3D coordination of systems to avoid issues in the field, and the project team is using a web-based paperless submittal system and will provide the owner with an Electronic Facility Maintenance Guide at closeout.”


For more information about the project, visit McCarthy’s website, (direct link:


McCarthy is also the general contractor for the new $450-million Torrance Memorial Medical Center Patient Tower in Torrance, Calif., which topped out in March. During the steel erection phase, ironworkers from Herrick Steel, an AISC member and AISC Certified Fabricator, placed 5,820 pieces of structural steel within three months for the new tower’s framing system.


The hospital, designed by HMC Architects, will replace Torrance Memorial’s original tower built in 1971 and will feature the latest medical technologies, more beds and space and a modern design. The seven-level patient tower will house 256 private rooms, 18 surgical and interventional treatment rooms and a basement with a central utility plant, as well as a tunnel connecting the existing hospital to the new facility.


Expected to be completed in late 2014, the design-build team is using BIM, including NavisWorks 3D project modeling, for clash detection and coordination to assist with extensive MEP overhead and in-wall coordination, as well as seismic bracing and exterior skin systems.

McCarthy has created a video series that tracks the project’s construction progress. Several videos are currently available, including one of the topping out celebration showing the final piece of steel being raised into place on top of the tower. Check them out at



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Joist and Girder Webinar
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 27, 2012 at 4:01 PM.

The Steel Joist Institute is hosting an “Evaluation and Modification of Open-Web Steel Joists and Joist Girders” webinar on Wednesday, July 18, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (EDT) that will discuss how to evaluate existing joists for new or additional loads.


The webinar introduces SJI’s “Technical Digest No. 12” and addresses specific topics such as evaluating existing joist strength, methods of supporting additional loads and design approaches to strengthen, shorten or lengthen joists.


Individual registration cost is $40 and each person who registers will receive their own link to the webinar and earn 0.15 CEUs/1.5 PDHs, as well as receive a certificate of completion from SJI. Site registration is $160, allowing up to 10 attendees from the same company to use one link to the webinar and earn CEU/PDH credit and certificate of completion.


For additional webinar details and to register, go to

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2012 AISC Milek Fellowship Call for Proposals
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 26, 2012 at 5:11 PM.

Proposals are now being accepted for AISC’s 2012 Milek Fellowship, a four-year, $30,000-per-year award given to a promising university faculty member to conduct structural steel research. The winning faculty member will be recognized in various industry publications and other venues, and will receive free registration at NASCC: The Steel Conference for four consecutive years following their selection as AISC Milek Fellow.


The Milek Fellowship program is designed to contribute to the research careers of young faculty who teach and conduct research investigations related to structural steel, while producing research results beneficial to designers, fabricators and erectors of structural steel.


Proposals will be accepted until September 15, 2012 and require specific application information, including:


  • Application name, affiliation, mailing address, telephone and email address
  • Description of the research to be conducted
  • Discussion of the relevance and usefulness of the research to structural steel construction (design, detailing, fabrication, installation, maintenance, renovation, materials, management, protection from corrosion, etc.)


The winner is to use the fellowship to support students with high potential to be valuable contributors to the U.S. structural steel design and construction industry. Funds are provided to conduct research that meets the long-terms needs of the structural steel industry; assist in leveraging additional outside funds for fellowship-related research; and develop graduate students for academic and design careers in the structural steel industry.


The selected faculty fellow should strive to fund a doctoral candidate each year with at least half of the yearly fellowship funds, and the chosen students will be named AISC Graduate Fellows and featured in MSC.


The award is named after William A. Milek, former AISC vice president of engineering and research, in recognition of his invaluable contributions to AISC and the structural steel industry.


For complete information about the Milek Fellowship program, past faculty fellows and the full proposal requirements and application, visit

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Steel Tops Out at 4 WTC
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 25, 2012 at 4:30 PM.

The rebuilding of the World Trade Center has reached another significant milestone: The final steel beam was lifted atop 4 World Trade Center today, ceremonially signifying the completion of its structural steel framework.


During the topping out ceremony, ironworkers and public officials signed the beam before it was lifted 977 ft by a crane and installed on top of the building. The 72-story tower is scheduled to open late next year and is expected to be the first tower completed on the 16-acre site since the 9/11 attacks.


Last December, DCM Erectors provided AISC Regional Engineer Jacinda Collins with a tour of 4 WTC. You can read her observations in our previous news post, here.


For more information about the World Trade Center’s rebuilding progress, including construction images and videos, visit

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Steel Shots: Music in the SteelStacks
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 22, 2012 at 3:32 PM.


The Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks, the focal point of a new arts and cultural campus on the former Bethlehem Steel plant, serves as a stunning asymmetrical arch of stainless steel panels — fabricated in Pennsylvania by Levan Associates, an AISC member and AISC Certified Fabricator — over a stage that uses 20-story furnaces as a backdrop for outdoor concerts and performances. (Click on the photo for an expanded view.) Photo: Paul Warchol, courtesy of WRT

After 150 years of commercial success, Pennsylvania’s Bethlehem Steel plant closed its 1,800-acre facility in the 1990s, leaving a skyline of massive blast furnaces and industrial structures on the banks of the Lehigh Valley. Since that time, the city of Bethlehem has searched for a means of turning the largest brownfield in the U.S. into a major cultural, education and entertainment district that would help to restore the economic and cultural life of the region.


The Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks was designed by architect Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT), Philadelphia, and engineered by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger in Boston. The underframe is exposed through perforated steel panels, all fabricated in Pennsylvania by Levan Associates, an AISC member and AISC Certified Fabricator.


Fluorescent light strips are hidden inside squared arches made of galvanized steel, and LED lighting subtly changes the color of the stacks. The cantilevered, multi-angled rooftop is supported in the foreground by angled planes that push the canopy back up, and the remaining exposed stage forms an intentionally incomplete proscenium arch.


The pavilion is part of a new 9.5-acre arts and cultural campus on the industrial complex, tying together the older structures, proposed buildings, open spaces and sections of two residential streets. The “SteelStacks district” includes a cinema, visual arts studios, gallery, cafe, bistro and a town-square / piazza for performances and gathering.


To learn more about the Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks and view additional photos, visit


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Save the Date for SteelDay: September 28
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 21, 2012 at 12:58 PM.

steelday_text_only.jpgHave you seen what the structural steel industry can do? SteelDay is your opportunity to experience it firsthand. The industry’s largest educational and networking event returns for a fourth successive year, on September 28, 2012. Hosted by AISC, its members and partners, SteelDay is a national event for the design and construction community to learn how design becomes project reality by exploring the structural steel supply chain–live and in person.   


SteelDay events range from educational presentations and seminars to tours of various steel facilities and job sites, where you can witness advanced technologies and construction processes in action while connecting with your local structural steel representatives.


Dozens of events around the U.S. are already available to sign up for on SteelDay’s website:


Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to see at some of this year’s events:

  •     Steelmaking and Recycling
  •     Steel Fabrication and 3D Modeling/BIM
  •     HSS (Hollow Structural Sections) Producers
  •     Steel Service Centers
  •     Galvanizers
  •     Advanced Machinery and Robotics
  •     Bender-Rollers
  •     Steel Installation


For detailed information on what this year’s SteelDay has in store, view AISC’s press release at Keep up on SteelDay updates and discussions by joining SteelDay’s fan page on Facebook and following the conversation on Twitter ( @SteelDay.

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Worldwide BIM Contest for Students
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 20, 2012 at 12:21 PM.

The Olympics aren’t the only global competition this summer. The Virtual Design World Cup, organized by 3D software specialist FORUM 8, is an international design contest for college-level students to compete in designing their own architectural 3D models using BIM and Virtual Reality technologies.


For the second year, students are challenged to design their models based on a specific theme. This year, the task is to design a sustainable and self-sufficient “Marine City” on the sea, using innovative technical and design aspects to overcome various issues that modern cities face in the 21st century.


Graitec’s Advance Steel structural steel detailing software is among the software participants can rely on to design and model their structures. In support of the competition, Graitec will provide 50 free short-term licenses of Advance Steel for students entered in the contest.


The top winner will receive a grand prize worth approximately $3,600, including a scholarship. Five others will win a laptop computer and all participants will receive a prize.


Applicants have until September 30 to register for the competition online. To learn more about the competition and how to enter, go to

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Video Shows Movable Bridge Replacement
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 18, 2012 at 5:04 PM.

freeport-texas-copy.jpgBridge engineering firm Modjeski and Masters captures a movable steel bridge replacement project in its new web video, “The Long Journey.” The video follows a rehabilitated Houma, La. lift-span bridge as it’s dismantled, loaded onto barges and shipped nearly 400 miles down the Intracoastal Waterway to its new home in Freeport, Texas.


Replacing the Freeport, Texas swing-span bridge with the lift-span bridge solved two critical challenges at the same time. The Freeport bridge, at nearly a century old, needed to meet today’s increasing load capacity requirements for rail traffic, while the more modern Houma bridge sat idle for nearly two decades and could handle increased requirements.


The video features footage and insights from the project team as they confront structural and engineering challenges with the Houma bridge relocation and replacement. It also highlights a temporary bobtail design solution that was used to maintain swing span functionality, without impacting rail or marine traffic, until the Freeport bridge was replaced.


You can watch the video on YouTube:

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Steel Shot: Suitable for Climbing
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 15, 2012 at 11:25 AM.

IIT Steel Sculpture

IIT’s AISC Steel Sculpture, one of more than 100
across the country that demonstrate steel connections of all types.


Sometimes you go looking for things, and sometimes you just happen upon them.


Climb thumbFor example, earlier this spring, my 6-year-old daughter and I were on the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) campus for a standardized test, and when we walked out of the testing building (which featured plenty of exposed structural steel and was designed, as many of IIT’s buildings were, by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe) we noticed an AISC Steel Sculpture. There are more than 100 of these sculptures at colleges and universities across the country, and they serve as valuable teaching aids that illustrate the various methods of steel framing and their corresponding connections. The one at IIT is painted bright orangish-red, and my daughter made a bee line to it as soon as we spotted it. She’s obviously not a structural engineer and wasn’t too interested in the connections–but she did discover that it’s fun to climb.


To find out how to get a Steel Sculpture on your campus, you can email Maria Mnookin at Fabricators interested in building and donating a steel sculpture to a university should also contact Maria.


You can view photos of Steel Sculptures at Facebook and Flickr. And if you’re ever on a college campus and stumble upon (or specifically seek out) one of the Steel Sculptures, take a picture or two and feel free to submit them to AISC (


- Geoff Weisenberger, Senior Editor

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