2021 Student Steel Bridge Competition Rules Released

September 18, 2020


CHICAGO - For more than 30 years, AISC’s Student Steel Bridge Competition (SSBC) has challenged student teams to develop a scale-model steel bridge that must meet the requirements and specifications for a mock design scenario. The rules are written by the SSBC Rules Committee, and they are changed every year to renew the challenge and to keep things exciting. 

Given the abrupt end to the 2020 Competition due to the COVID-19 virus, this year’s rule changes allow bridges designed for the 2020 Competition to be used in the 2021 Competition, and they do not prohibit teams from modifying their 2020 bridges or developing a completely new design as they see fit. 

The mock scenario remains the same: The bridge will cross a new waterway created by flooding along a recreational trail in Katy Trail State Park in Missouri. The bridge must be skewed with the waterway running parallel to the skew. However, teams must consider a different construction site layout this year when determining how to assemble the bridge.

To accommodate the variety of circumstances on (and off) college campuses as a result of the pandemic, AISC is excited to offer three ways for students to compete in 2021:

  1. Team participation in the traditional competition at one of 18 Regional Events held in person (where it is safe to do so) with social distancing and other safety protocols in place,

  2. Team participation in the traditional competition from their own campus via a video submission,

- and/or -

  1. Team participation in a new, design-only program known as the Supplemental Competition. Student teams will be asked to submit a written report and a video summarizing their design and construction sequence for the bridge.

AISC and the SSBC Rules Committee hope that the variety of options will provide students with the best opportunity to compete as they are able. 

“We hope that students will still be able to enjoy the things that make SSBC so special: camaraderie, creative problem-solving, and actual engineering experience,” said Christina Harber, AISC’s Director of Education.

For the complete problem statement, rules, and sponsorship opportunities, visit


For more information contact:

Dani Friedland
Director of Marketing Communications

American Institute of Steel Construction

The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a non-partisan, 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, market development, and advocacy. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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