Modern Steel Construction » Steel in the News » Steel Shots: New Season of Student Bridge Engineering Prowess Begins

Steel in the News

Back to all posts

Steel Shots: New Season of Student Bridge Engineering Prowess Begins
Posted by Tasha Weiss on January 27, 2012 at 2:28 PM.


Student team members from the University of Texas at Arlington hustle to erect their steel bridge entry at this year’s first Student Steel Bridge regional competition held at the University of Houston earlier this month. Photo: James Williams


Eleven universities from Texas and Mexico gathered at the University of Houston, January 13-14, to showcase their engineering talent and teamwork in the first ASCE/AISC Student Steel Bridge regional competition of 2012. Now in its 21st year, the competition convenes engineering students from across North America to build their designed and fabricated steel bridges under the pressure of the clock.


This year’s design requirements challenge students to construct a cantilevered short-span bridge that can carry specified patterns of loads without exceeding sway and deflection limits. Teams can display different approaches to structural support for their bridges while striving for the shortest time under specific building constraints.


Categories of competition are construction speed, stiffness, lightness, economy, display, and efficiency. The teams with the best combined rankings across all six categories earn overall award recognition.


“This competition is such a good learning experience for the students,” said James Williams, P.E., Ph.D., professor of civil engineering at University of Texas at Arlington and the team’s faculty advisor. “They get to design, fabricate, and build a real project and get to see how it holds up to the design loads.  Plus, they learn to work as part of a team.”


Throughout the year, student teams work for months perfecting the design, fabrication, and construction of each bridge. To reach the national event, each team must place among the top schools in one of 18 regional competitions held across the country each spring. There are plenty of opportunities to attend one of these exciting events! View the schedule of upcoming regional competitions (including host school contact info) on ASCE’s website at


The 2012 National Student Steel Bridge Competition finals will be held May 25-26 at Clemson University in South Carolina. Interested in becoming a judge for the national competition? Contact for information.


Learn more about the 2012 SSBC at or

Bookmark and Share