Steel Shots: Student Steel Bridge Season Kicks Off

Student team members from Southern Methodist University (top photo) and the Universidad Autonoma Del Estado De Mexico (bottom photo) hustle to assemble their steel bridges in this year’s first NSSBC regional competition at the University of Texas at El Paso. (Photos: AISC) 

The 2017 ASCE/AISC National Student Steel Bridge Competition (NSSBC) is underway! The season kicked off earlier this month with the first regional competition at the University of Texas at El Paso. Seventeen more regional competitions will follow this spring, culminating with the national competition over Memorial Day weekend, May 26-27 at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore.

Throughout the academic year, student teams devote countless hours perfecting the design, fabrication and construction of their own scale-model steel bridge (at one-tenth the size of a full-scale bridge) under a set of rules that reflect real-life structural specifications and construction regulations. The teams compete in 18 regional competitions during the spring, and the top qualified teams will compete in the finals.

Now in its 26th year, the program brings together more than 200 engineering student teams from across North America to showcase their skills and teamwork and prepares them for real-world bridge design. Bridge rankings are based on the categories of construction speed, stiffness, lightness, economy, display and efficiency.

There are plenty of opportunities to attend one of these exciting events! View the schedule of regional competitions (including host school contact info) on ASCE’s website. For more about the national competition, visit or You can also learn about how the competition has evolved over the past quarter-century in the article “Going National” in our March 2016 issue, and about last year’s competition in the article “Proven in Provo” in the August 2016 issue.