Students Put Skills to Ultimate Test at 25th NSSBC

The École de technologie supérieure steel bridge team took first place in the NSSBC for the first time in school history. (Photo: T. Bart Quimby, courtesy of ASCE)

A team of civil engineering students from École de technologie supérieure (ETS), Montreal, Canada, are the overall winners of the 2016 ASCE/AISC National Student Steel Bridge Competition (NSSBC), hosted by Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, May 27-28. For the second straight year, second place went to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. The University of Florida, last year’s champions, took home third. Forty-eight university and college teams qualified to compete in the 25th annual competition, narrowed down from a total of 223 teams that participated in 18 regional competitions throughout the spring.

“I’m very proud of our team,” said Alan Carter, Ph.D., professor and ASCE faculty advisor at ETS. “They did an incredible job and the title gives them the ultimate reward. Not only is it our first title, but it’s the first title for a Canadian team, which makes us even happier.”

Throughout the academic year, student teams devote countless hours perfecting the design, fabrication and construction of their own scale-model (1:10) steel bridge under a set of rules that reflect real-life structural specifications and construction regulations. To achieve success in the competition, students must be able to apply engineering concepts and effectively work together to assemble their bridge under the pressure of the clock.

“It was an amazing experience for all of our team,” added Jean-Philippe Boucher, a third-year student and captain of the 15-member steel bridge team at ETS. “Last year we ended up third and we came back with one goal: to finish first this year. We knew before the competition which teams were in good position for the win and we knew it would be tight, so we had to perform great on competition day. When our team was announced first place in the competition, it was an unbelievable feeling. We’re really proud of all the work we’ve done this year.”

Bridge rankings were based on the categories of construction speed, stiffness, lightness, economy, display and efficiency. The teams with the best combined rankings across all categories earned overall award recognition. The complete competition rankings are available at

“The quality and character of the students’ work is impressive,” said Nancy Gavlin, AISC’s director of education. “The competition poses real-world challenges that the students face with ingenuity and professionalism.”

Next year’s national competition will be held May 26-27 at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore. For more information, visit