A team from the University of Florida has taken home the top prize at this year’s AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition finals for their structural design of a hypothetical wildlife crossing in Washington State.
Responding to a brief that required them to build using a truss design and incorporate a cantilever and skewered piers, the first-place winners created a concept that can withstand both maintenance vehicle and pedestrian traffic on its wildlife-servicing green surface spanning a busy corridor of I-90.
Like the recently begun Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing in Southern California's Santa Monica Mountains, the bridge serves as an important type of infrastructure that takes into account the vitality of species living in areas surrounding major highway arteries as represented in the competition’s hypothetical focus and the ever-busy 101 Freeway.
“This year was quite different from pre-pandemic competitions because many students who held the institutional knowledge for their teams have graduated since the last in-person finals — in fact, most of the students competing this year were brand-new to the competition,” AISC Senior Director of Education Christina Harber said of the competition, which was held at Virginia Tech in partnership with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). “They learned a lot and are excited to participate again next year, and we’re looking forward to seeing what they can do!"
The group from UF will also take the Frank J. Hatfield Ingenuity Award back to Gainesville as the team that demonstrated the engineering ingenuity. They were followed closely in the overall competition by a second-place design from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and third from Lafayette College.
ASCE executive director Tom Smith commended the students for "building bridges in every sense of the word." More information about the competition and other award winners can be found here.
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