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Steel Shots: Student Steel Bridge Season Kicks Off
Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 8, 2013 at 12:30 PM.


Student team members from the University of Texas at Arlington hustle to assemble their steel bridge at this year’s first Student Steel Bridge regional competition, held at the University of Texas at El Paso last month. Photos: James Williams


Twelve universities from Texas and Mexico gathered at the University of Texas at El Paso, January 19, to showcase their engineering prowess in the first ASCE/AISC Student Steel Bridge regional competition of 2013. Now in its 22nd year, the competition convenes engineering students from across North America to build their designed and fabricated steel bridges under the pressure of the clock.



Even at one-tenth the size of a full-scale bridge, the experience is quite comparable to the real thing. Participating students apply engineering principles and theory, culminating in a steel structure that meets client specifications and optimizes both performance and economy. They also gain valuable practical experience in structural design, fabrication processes, construction planning, organization, project management and teamwork. (The right photo shows student team members from the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico in action as they race the clock to construct their bridge during the recent regional competition. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge.)


Students’ bridges must be able to withstand 2,500 pounds and show the least deflection (or dip) when the weight is applied, and are judged in the following categories: display, construction speed, stiffness, lightness, construction economy and structural efficiency. The teams with the best combined rankings across all six categories earn overall award recognition.


Throughout the academic 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 (direct link:


The 2013 National Student Steel Bridge Competition finals will be held May 31-June 1 at the University of Washington in Seattle. Interested in becoming a judge for the national competition? Contact for information.


Learn more about the 2013 SSBC at or

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