River Hawks ready to rumble: Link
A Bridge into the Future
The steel bridge competition, sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction, requires that students design and fabricate a scale model of a steel bridge according to the specifications in the contest’s rule book, and then construct the model on-site during the competition. The bridges are judged based on construction speed and economy, lightness, stiffness and structural efficiency as well as overall performance and poster presentation.
UMass Lowell’s steel girder bridge spans 15 feet, 10½ inches long; 2 feet, 8½ wide and weighs 104 pounds. It can support a load totaling 2,500 pounds. The bridge’s 39 pieces are held together by 66 bolts and, during the regional competition, it took four team members less than10 minutes to build it.
This year’s steel bridge team is comprised of 19 civil engineering majors — 13 males and six females.
“We are all really excited and proud to be able to represent the University at the national level,” says senior Ross Gladstone, who is the team’s project manager. “It is a great opportunity for us to see what other top schools are doing around the country.”
Ross says the team is hoping to place in the top 10 among the 49 teams that will be competing.
“We are working to improve our score in Construction Economy category by reducing the number of builders and the construction time,” he says.
UMass Lowell hosted the Northeast regional steel bridge competition in 1997 and will host it again next spring. To see photos of this year’s competition, go to the team's Facebook page.
“The students deserve the bulk of the credit, and the keywords that help explain their success are ‘continuity’ and ‘student leadership,’ ” says Bruell. “They did not achieve this feat overnight — they have incorporated a series of gradual improvements into their preparation for these competitions, and it has paid off tremendously. We have always had some extraordinary students in our program, and within the last six or seven years, these students decided to focus on these competitions and to compete to win.”