Steel Bridge

About the ASCE Steel Bridge Competition

The Student Steel Bridge Competition challenges students to extend their classroom knowledge to a practical and hands-on steel-design project that grows their interpersonal and professional skills, encourages innovation, and fosters impactful relationships between students and industry professionals.

Each student team develops a concept for a scale-model steel bridge to span approximately 20 feet and to carry 2,500 pounds according to the competition rules. The team must determine how to fabricate their bridge and then plan for an efficient assembly under timed construction conditions at the competition. Bridges are also load-tested, weighed, and judged on aesthetics.

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The Challenge

Civil Engineering students are challenged to an intercollegiate competition that supplements their education with a comprehensive, student-driven project experience from conception and design through fabrication, erection, and testing. This experience culminates in a steel structure that meets client specifications and optimizes performance and economy. The Student Steel Bridge Competition (SSBC) increases awareness of real world engineering issues such as spatial constraints, material properties, strength, serviceability, fabrication, erection processes, safety, aesthetics, project management, and cost estimating. Success in competition requires application of engineering principles and theory, effective teamwork, and inclusive practices. Future engineers are stimulated to innovate, practice professionalism, and use structural steel efficiently. Students design and erect a steel bridge by themselves but may consult with faculty and other advisors. 

The Student Steel Bridge Competition provides design and management experience, opportunity to learn fabrication processes, and the excitement of networking with and competing against teams from other schools.

The Design

The design of the bridge is a fundamental aspect of the competition. Each year ASCE provides a set of rules that outline requirements and restrictions for design and construction of the canoe. Past guidelines have included limitations on things like bridge dimensions, bridge weight, and types of materials used to build the bridge. 

The Competition

The competition includes scoring in eight categories: aesthetics, construction speed, lightness, stiffness, construction economy, structural efficiency, cost estimation, and overall performance.

The Experience

The steel bridge competition is an exciting way to apply classroom concepts to a hands-on project and to form lasting friendships with fellow engineering students. Together you work to solve a real world problem and get to see the project come to life from the initial design on paper, through the practice sessions, and finally on the build day where everything must go well in order to win. You don’t have to be an expert in steel or engineering design, just come and be ready to learn and build a bridge!

If you are a student interested in becoming a steel bridge team member, we would LOVE for you to get involved! Contact the steel bridge co-captains on our leadership page!

ASCE National Steel Bridge Competition Website Here