May 26, 2018

Steel Bridge

The National Steel Bridge Competition is a highly competitive event at the SESC, where the winners go on to take part in the national contest. In this competition, universities must design and build a bridge to span approximately 20 feet and support 2500 pounds within the limits of deflection.

The interesting part of the competition is that the bridge must be assembled on site within 30 minutes. A bridge consists of members that must fit inside a prismatic box of 3’6” x 6” x 6” and it must not weigh more than 20 pounds. Members must be connected to each other via nuts and bolts; however these may be supplementary to other connections. There are dimensional constraints for the overall bridge.

ASCE           NSSBC           AISC

Bridges are judged on:

  • Display
  • Construction Time
  • Bridge Weight
  • Deflections

WaterCut Connection

Penalties are assessed if there are dimensional errors, construction violations or unsafe loading conditions. Like the concrete canoe, the steel bridge rules change on a yearly basis, changing dimensional constraints, construction processes and site layouts.








Rules, history and rankings are available at the National Student Steel Bridge Competition website Tallahassee

The Rock

UM ASCE has a short, but budding recent history with steel bridges. In 2008, the bridge was resurrected as Alpha Cane. Lessons learned were applied to Welcome to Miami, Beach in 2009 as we ascended to the top ten. In 2010, our Steel Bridge team constructed El Momento. In 2011, our success continued with The Rock. We used waterjet connections (see above) leading to a first place award in "Steel Bridge Stiffness," having a .10" span deflection. The Steel Bridge Team looks forward to further building upon our success in 2012.

Welcome to Miami Beach

Above: El Momento; Right: The Rock