UB-ASCE Steel Bridge Team Places 10th in National Competition

UB-ASCE's Student Chapter Steel Bridge Team poses at the University of Akron, where the National Student Steel Bridge Competition took place on May 23-24, 2014.

UB-ASCE's Student Chapter Steel Bridge Team poses at the University of Akron, where the National Student Steel Bridge Competition took place on May 23-24, 2014.

Published June 2, 2014

UB's American Society of Civil Engineers (UB-ASCE) student chapter steel bridge team took home 10th place overall in 2014 National Student Steel Bridge Competition, earning UB its best result in the national competition to date.


This year’s national competition was held on May 23-24 at University of Akron in Ohio, and assembled 49 of the top performing steel bridge teams from colleges and university across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The UB steel bridge team was invited to compete at nationals based on its second place finish at the ASCE Regional Student Conference held at Cornell University in April.

In the national competition, students are judged on display, construction speed, lightness, stiffness, construction economy, and structural efficiency. In addition, overall performance is scored. UB excelled in construction economy, with an improved build time of 7 minute and 52 seconds compared to their build time of about 11 minutes at regionals.

“The students practiced very hard and very often to achieve that improvement in build time,” said Todd Snyder, ASCE Faculty Advisor. “They did have one nut drop, which resulted in a 15 second penalty, so their final time was 8 minutes 12 seconds. This was the fifth fastest time of the competition, and based on using four builders, they placed 4th in economy.”

At 136 pounds, UB’s beam design bridge was the 9th lightest in the competition. Once loaded with the 2,500-pound load, the shallow 18-foot-long bridge deflection at three points was measured and summed, with the aggregate deflection of 2.2 inches, resulting in 31st place for Stiffness. The weight and stiffness earned UB 16th place in Efficiency. The total cost of the bridge, which is determined by the scores in economy and efficiency, resulted in UB winning 10th place overall.

“We are all excited about the best UB performance, but even more so that this is the second year in a row for that accomplishment, which speaks for the continuous development of the program,” said Nic Vesely, who served as this year’s team captain.

Last year, UB earned 11th place overall at the national competition, which was held at the University of Washington in Seattle.

This year, 14 students representing CSEE and UB-ASCE traveled to national competition in Akron, including Ed Almeter (UB-ASCE Treasurer and 2015 team captain), Steve Coley, Greg Congdon (builder), Lindsey Devito (builder), Zeb Hoffmann, Sara Mantas, Duncan Mcauley, Caitlin O’Leary, Ryan O’Malley (builder), Andrea Sacco, Josh Schmid, Sean Terry (builder), Tim Van Oss (UB-ASCE President), and Nic Vesely (2014 team captain). The team was also accompanied by Practitioner Advisor John Gast and Faculty Advisor Todd Snyder.

“It feels pretty good to know that I had a part in UB's best bridge design…the hiccups we encountered in the beginning made it a nice surprise,” said Sean Terry, a build team member. “Not only was I on the build team during the competitions, I also had a hand in fabrication and design. It makes me excited for next year.”