Steel Shots: The Student Steel Bridge Competition Hits a Quarter-Century

A team of students from the University of Florida constructed the winning bridge in last year’s NSSBC, hosted by the University of Missouri - Kansas City. (Photo: T. Bart Quimby, courtesy of ASCE)

This year marks a quarter-century of the ASCE/AISC National Student Steel Bridge Competition (NSSBC), which has evolved from a small academic competition in Michigan to a national showcase of skill and ingenuity that preps students for real-world bridge design. For more about the history of the competition, watch AISC's video and check out the article “Going National” from our March issue.

Forty-eight student engineering teams will converge at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, May 27-28 to compete in the 2016 NSSBC. This year, 223 university and college teams from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, China and the United Arab Emirates participated in a total of 18 regional competitions, and the top teams from each region will put their skills on display at the national level. See the list of qualifying teams.

The competition is an exciting visual display of students’ structural design and analysis skills at work. Teams are challenged to design, fabricate and construct their own one-tenth-scale steel bridge in the shortest time and under specific building constraints that reflect real-life structural specifications and construction regulations. Bridge rankings are based on a variety of factors including construction cost, construction speed, total bridge weight and bridge stiffness.

Learn more about the competition at