April 16, 2018

NDSU Steel Bridge Team gains hands-on experience


The NDSU Steel Bridge Team had a successful season even though they did not bring home a seventh national title.

The team of engineering students placed fourth at the 2018 American Society of Civil Engineering Midwest Regional Student Conference held at the University of Iowa March 29-April 1.

Lakehead University of Ontario and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville finished first and second and will move on to nationals. Iowa State University and the University of North Dakota rounded out the top five.

Twelve teams competed in this year’s regionals, each designed and built a steel bridge over a 6-foot river. The bridge must support 2,500 pounds without bending more than a few inches.

Teams were judged on construction speed, lightness, display, stiffness, economy and efficiency. Each category is assigned a financial value and total project costs determine the overall winner. NDSU placed first in lightness.

The NDSU team was co-captained by Jake Roepke and Max Schumacher. Austin Pauly, Jordan Wurtzberger, Matt Oen, Sam Schoenecker, Weston Adair, Gina Blazanin, Rachel Vogl, Andrew Smith, Alex Groff, Coltyn Nelson, Alec Sander and Daniel Rogstad also attended the regional competition.

The team worked on their bridge for about seven months, gaining important experience in design, management, fabrication and teamwork. Lessons they will take from the classroom to their careers.  

The steel bridge-building competition first began in 1992 at Michigan State University and grew quickly in popularity and participation. Bridge dimensions, construction rules and the cost weighting of the various factors change from year to year.

NDSU has won the national championship a record six times, in 1995, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010.

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