Students Put Skills to Ultimate Test at 25th National Student Steel Bridge Competition

June 9, 2016

(Chicago, IL) – 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 in the competition, took home third. Forty-eight university and college teams qualified to compete in the 25th annual national championship, 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 national title gives them the ultimate reward. Not only is it our first national title, but it’s the first national 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 top three winners in each category were:

Construction Speed

1. University of Wisconsin - Platteville 
2. Youngstown State University 
3. Illinois Institute of Technology


1. George Mason University
2. Tongji
3. University of Florida


1. University of Florida 
2. University of Wisconsin - Madison 
3. University at Buffalo


1. University of Wisconsin - Platteville
2. Youngstown State University
3. Lafayette College


1. Western Kentucky University
2. Youngstown State University
3. University of Michigan


1. University of Florida 
2. École de technologie supérieure
3. California Polytechnic State University, SLO

“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.”

This year marked a quarter-century of the NSSBC, which has evolved from a small academic competition in Michigan to a national showcase of skill and teamwork that preps students for real-world bridge design. Watch AISC's video commemorating 25 years of the competition.

The complete NSSBC rankings are available at Next year’s national competition will be held May 26-27 at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore.


For more information contact:

Dani Friedland
Marketing Communications Strategist

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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