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Bridging Steel and Concrete
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 30, 2014 at 5:52 PM.

pci-journal.jpgWhen you look at the Spring 2014 cover photo of PCI Journal (publication of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute), you may be surprised to see a lot of steel.


The issue’s cover story is about the Mackenzie River twin bridges, a pair of two-lane bridges constructed using steel girders to support a precast concrete deck.


The bridges cross a deep gorge of the Mackenzie River as part of a new TransCanada Highway realignment near Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. There was considerable pressure to construct the two bridges as quickly as possible to prevent use of the existing congested highway by heavy construction vehicles. Various structural forms were considered. In the end, steel girders with a precast concrete deck offered the best combination of economy, expediency and aesthetics.


Each bridge has five variable-depth, corrosion-resistant steel plate girders that support the precast concrete deck, which is made up of precast concrete approach slabs and 130 precast concrete deck panels. The slabs and panels were connected at transverse joints and attached to the steel girders using field-cast concrete.


Read the article to learn more about how steel and concrete worked together as an innovative system for the twin bridges.

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Steel Structure Trivia: Glacier Skywalk
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 27, 2014 at 12:00 PM.

Here’s MSC’s June Steel Structure Trivia challenge! Opened to the public in May, the Glacier Skywalk is an exciting and dramatic cliff-edge walkway designed to offer spectacular views and blend in with the natural environment. The 1,300-ft-long curved, glass-bottomed walkway was constructed using weathering steel and cantilevers 100 ft from the cliff face, putting visitors 1,000 ft above the valley floor. Photo: Robert Lemermeyer


Trivia Question: Where is the Glacier Skywalk located?




The Glacier Skywalk is located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies - Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada. Congratulations to our winners: Jamie Weikum, structural engineer at Protostatix Engineering Consultants in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Yazan Moghrabi, project coordinator at Schuff Steel in Orlando, Fla. (an AISC member and AISC certified fabricator); Santhosh Pandian, deputy manager at CBRE in Chennai, India; and Petr Vancura, director of communications at Gilsanz Murray Steficek LLP in New York, N.Y.


Keep an eye out for our August “What’s Cool in Steel” issue of MSC, which will feature a detailed article about the Glacier Skywalk and other cool steel projects around the world!


You can test your steel structure knowledge right here on our MSC website on the last Friday of each month, where a new photo 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 on Friday, July 25.




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Get Ahead of the (Steel) Curve at AIA
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 26, 2014 at 8:46 AM.

aia-aisc-booth.jpgThe AIA Convention and Expo is being held today through Saturday in Chicago. Will you be attending? If so, enhance your show experience by talking curved steel in AISC’s booth (#4342).


Stop by and examine AISC’s curved steel sculpture, and learn more about how steel is curved and how you can attain your architectural goals with curved steel. And be sure to ask for a complimentary copy of AISC’s Curved Steel brochure while they last.


ave-maria.jpgThe photo at right shows how curved steel was used to enhance the design creativity and efficiency of the Ave Maria University Oratory in Ave Maria, Fla., a 2008 AISC IDEAS2 Award winner. Photo: New York Focus LLC


AISC works with architects and other design and construction professionals to develop unique, economical and sustainable steel framing solutions. For complimentary assistance on your project, contact AISC’s Steel Solutions Center at 866.ASK.AISC or


aia-trolley.jpgGoing Green at this year’s convention? Take Chicago’s Red Line El train from downtown to the Chinatown stop and hop aboard AISC’s complimentary trolley shuttle to and from the McCormick Place Convention Center. (A 25-minute walk.)




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New Bridge Blog
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 24, 2014 at 4:57 PM.

Structal-Bridges (an AISC/NSBA member and AISC certified fabricator), a division of Canam Group, has launched a blog that will serve as a platform for sharing expertise on various topics related to the bridge construction industry.


“Structal-Bridges has created a blog that, we hope, will become an ally in the execution of bridge projects,” said Robin Lapointe, vice president, Structal-Bridges. “This latest initiative is in line with our ongoing efforts aimed at the pursuit of a better customer experience. Through the means of regular posts by our experts, this blog will present technical articles, case studies as well as information on our new products and services.”


Visit the blog at; articles can be shared and the site provides an option to receive email alerts when new articles are issued. The blog can also be accessed on Structal-Bridges’ website homepage ( by clicking on the “Blog” tab or on the banner “Follow our blog.” You can also keep up with Structal-Bridge updates on Twitter @StructalBridges. 

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Rapid Repair for Jacksonville’s Mathews Bridge
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 23, 2014 at 5:48 PM.

Architecture and engineering firm RS&H, in association with Five Studios, has produced a documentary short film, “In the Blink of an Eye,” which details the story of the Mathews Bridge Emergency Repairs in Jacksonville, Fla.


In September of last year, a Navy transport ship being towed by tugboats hit the Mathews Bridge, a steel bridge that spans 7,736 ft across the St. Johns River in Jacksonville. The impact severed a main truss member, one of the bottom beams that support the triangle shape (a truss) of the bridge. Although the bridge did not collapse from losing this primary beam, it was immediately closed to traffic based on safety concerns.


The video showmatthews-bridge-repair-video.jpgs the process and challenges the project team overcame together to reopen the bridge in just 34 days from September 26 through October 29, 2013. More than 200 workers came together for this emergency repair project.


A five-minute version of the video is available on the RS&H website. The full, 15-minute version can be viewed at

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Seeking 2015 T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award Nominations
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 17, 2014 at 9:35 AM.

Nominations are now being accepted for AISC’s prestigious T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award, which includes a $15,000 cash award. The award recognizes an outstanding lecturer and author whose technical paper or papers, published during the eligibility period, are considered an outstanding contribution to the engineering literature on fabricated structural steel. The winner will be recognized at the 2015 NASCC: The Steel Conference, March 25-27 in Nashville, and also will present their lecture at various professional association events throughout the year.


AISC encourages anyone involved in the design community and steel construction industry to submit nominations. Nominations must be submitted by August 1, 2014, and include the following information:


  • Name and affiliation of the individual nominated (past winners may not be nominated again)

  • Title of the paper(s) for which the individual is nominated, including publication citation

  • Reasons for nomination

  • A copy of the paper(s), as well as any published discussion


The author must be a permanent resident of the U.S. and available to fulfill the commitments of the award. The paper(s) must have been published in a professional journal between January 1, 2009 and January 1, 2014, and the award winner is required to attend and present at the 2015 NASCC and also give a minimum of six presentations of their lecture on selected occasions during the year.


The award will be given to a nominated individual based on their reputation as a lecturer and the jury’s evaluation of the paper(s) named in the nomination. Papers will be judged for originality, clarity of presentation, contribution to engineering knowledge, future significance and value to the fabricated structural steel industry.


Please send nominations for the T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award to:


T.R. Higgins Award Nomination
c/o Janet T. Cummins
Engineering & Research Coordinator
American Institute of Steel Construction
One East Wacker Drive, Suite 700
Chicago, IL 60601


Or, nominations may be submitted via email to Janet Cummins at


The current T.R. Higgins Lecturer is Larry S. Muir, P.E., who subsequently became AISC’s director of technical assistance as of last December. Previously he provided structural steel consulting services to fabricators, erectors, and engineers, and served as a consultant in the AISC Steel Solutions Center. He’s honored for his paper “Designing Compact Gussets with the Uniform Force Method,” published in the first quarter 2008 issue of AISC’s Engineering Journal.


Other recent recipients include: William F. Baker, P.E., S.E., for co-authoring the papers “Stability Design of the Bow String Trusses of the Virginia Beach Convention Center” and “Applications of Structural Optimization in Architectural Design,” published in the proceedings of the combined 2012 ASCE Structures Congress and 20th Analysis and Computation Specialty Conference; Michel Bruneau, P.E., Ph.D., for his papers on steel plate shear wall design published in AISC’s Engineering Journal and the proceedings of the Canadian Conference on Earthquake Engineering; and Charles W. Roeder, P.E., Ph.D., for his paper “Gusset Plate Connections for Seismic Design,” published in the Proceedings of the Sixth International Workshop on Connections in Steel Structures.


The award is named for Theodore R. Higgins, Ph.D., former AISC director of engineering and research, who was widely acclaimed for his many contributions to the advancement of engineering technology related to fabricated structural steel.


More information on the T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award and its past winners can be found at


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Steel Shots: Doubling the Dixie
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 13, 2014 at 4:15 PM.


The Dixie Highway Flyover between Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach, Fla., is a Prize Bridge Medium Span winner in NSBA’s 2014 Prize Bridge awards competition. And about the winning bridge, Thomas R. Cooper, P.E., P.Eng., lead structural engineer at Parsons Brinckeroff in Denver, and a judge in the competition, said: “Painted steel box girders provided a clean and efficient solution to a curved alignment traversing the street-level intersections below.” Photo: Courtesy of Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.


The Dixie Highway is done doubling up. The last remaining two-lane stretch, in northern Broward and Palm Beach Counties (Fla.), has been expanded to four lanes in the form of a flyover that crosses the Florida East Coast (FEC) Railroad, several local streets and the Hillsboro Canal, a waterway that separates the cities of Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach.


Two separate structures were constructed using a total of 3,250 tons of structural steel. The main bridge is a 1,390-ft, eight-span, S-curved, steel box girder bridge with a super-elevated transition. The steel tubs are 6 ft and 7 ft deep for ease of maintenance and sit 16 ft to 30 ft above grade. The second bridge is a single-span, 218-ft single steel box pedestrian bridge connecting Pioneer Park in Deerfield Beach to Boca Raton over the canal.


Read more about the Dixie Highway Flyover and all of this year’s Prize Bridge award winners in the current June issue of MSC.

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Get Your Music Heard on SteelDay’s Playlist
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 12, 2014 at 3:17 PM.

AISC is now accepting musical entries for the second annual STEELapalooza contest celebrating SteelDay!


Budding artists in the structural design community and steel construction industry have the opportunity to get their original music heard nationwide–for free! If you work for a structural steel fabricator, erector, detailer, structural design firm, producer or service center, you’re encouraged to submit an original, previously unpublished composition of any music genre. Songs/lyrics do not need to be related to steel.


Submittals will be accepted until July 15. Winners will be announced on August 1 and their music will be compiled onto a CD to be distributed on SteelDay (September 19) at events taking place throughout the country.


For information about how to enter, and to listen to last year’s playlist, visit


SteelDay host enrollment is also open! To sign up to host an event or to learn more, go to

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HOK Steel Design Wins Green Building Competition
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 11, 2014 at 2:09 PM.

hok-school-design.jpgTeam members from global design and engineering firm HOK’s Chicago office have won the 2014 School Annex Design Competition, organized by the Living Building Challenge Collaborative: Chicago (LBCCC). The competition tasked entrants to design a sustainable classroom building as an annex to the overcrowded Eli Whitney Elementary School on Chicago’s southwest side.


HOK’s team focused on a structural steel design strategy that connects their building to the site with a surface that people can sit and walk on and see throughout the building.


“We wanted to float our building to open up the ground plan in order to maximize open space for school/community activities and greenspace for a playground, public garden and rain water collection pond,” said Justin Warner, one of HOK’s team members. “Essentially, we designed the school as a steel trussed bridge. The building is supported at either end. The school entrance anchors at the north end and integrates into the structural grid of the existing annex to the south.”


The design also employs a bimetallic facade paneling system that responds to solar orientation and ambient temperatures in order to shade or provide light into the building.


LBCCC hopes the competition will encourage the development and construction of a fully certified Living Building in Chicago. The Living Building Challenge is an international sustainable building certification program created in 2006 by the non-profit International Living Future Institute.


For additional information about HOK’s winning design and the competition, visit http://lbccchicagocompetition.wordpress.


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Arup Develops 3D Printed Structural Steel
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 10, 2014 at 11:16 AM.

additive_manufacturing_1_900×600_davidfotografie.jpgUsing the latest 3D printing techniques, or more accurately, “additive manufacturing,” engineering and consulting firm Arup has produced a design method for critical structural steel elements for use in complex projects.


Arup created a redesign of a steel node for a lightweight structure using additive manufacturing and claims that by using this new technique, complex individually designed pieces can be created far more efficiently.


“This has tremendous implications for reducing costs and cutting waste,” said Salome Galjaard, a team leader with Arup. “But most importantly, this approach potentially enables a very sophisticated design, without the need to simplify the design in a later stage to lower costs.”


Arup funded the development work and collaborated with a number of partners to realize the designs, including WithinLab (an engineering design software and consulting company), CRDM/3D Systems (the additive manufacturing partner) and EOS, who worked on the early development of the technology.


To learn more, see Arup’s news release


Image: David de Jong via Arup

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