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Student Steel Bridge Competition Highlights the Future of Structural Engineering

June 2, 2009 from American Institute of Steel Construction

(Chicago, IL) - A team of eleven civil engineering students from SUNY - Canton won the 18th annual ASCE/AISC National Student Steel Bridge Competition, held May 22-23, 2009 at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Second place went to the team from North Dakota State University - Fargo, while Lakehead University – Ontario, Canada, took third overall.

This year’s competition featured 46 teams from universities around the United States and Canada. Each team of future structural engineers performed the steel design, steel fabrication, and steel erection required to construct 20-foot-long scale-model bridges capable of carrying 2,500 pounds, serving as both a functional and appealing replacement for a century-old highway bridge. The bridges were judged in six key categories related to steel design and construction: construction speed, stiffness, lightness, economy, display, and efficiency. Those teams with the best combined rankings across all six categories earn overall award recognition.

After qualifying for the national competition in ten previous years, this year is the first time a SUNY – Canton team has won the contest. Paul Hitchman, a steel bridge team advisor for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and a SUNY – Canton faculty member, commented, “One of the most rewarding aspects of the competition is competing against some of our nation’s best and most respected engineering colleges and universities, and our students proving to themselves that they belong amongst the best.”

Student teams work for months perfecting the design, fabrication and construction of each bridge. To reach the national competition, each team must also place among the top schools in one of 18 regional competitions held across the country each year.

Nancy Gavlin, director of education for the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), said, “It’s thrilling to watch the next generation of structural engineers come together and work with such passion and enthusiasm. The dedication, hard work, and innovativeness shown by each team in designing and constructing their bridges was truly impressive.”

The top three winners in each category were:

Construction Speed

  • SUNY - Canton
  • Université Laval
  • Lakehead University


  • University of Central Florida
  • Seattle University
  • University of Colorado, Denver


  • North Dakota State University
  • Virginia Tech
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison


  • Université Laval
  • Lakehead University
  • SUNY Canton


  •  Ecole de Technologie Superieure
  • North Dakota State University
  • Lakehead University


  •  North Dakota State University
  • Virginia Tech
  • Washington State University

The National Student Steel Bridge Competition is sponsored by AISC in cooperation with the ASCE and is co-sponsored by the American Iron and Steel Institute, the National Steel Bridge Alliance, the James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation, Nucor Corporation, Bentley Systems, Inc., Steel Structures Education Foundation, and CISC-ICCA.

The 2010 National Student Steel Bridge Competition will be held on May 28-29 at Purdue University. For more information on the competition, please visit http://www.aisc.org/steelbridge.





For more information contact:

Tasha O`Berski
Communications Department
(312) 670-5439
[email protected]


American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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