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Steel bridge competition

The Oregon Tech Steel Bridge team ranked in the top 50 percent at the 2019 American Institute of Steel Construction Student Steel Bridge Competition that concluded June 1 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The Oregon Tech Steel Bridge team, led by construction captain Grant Banister of Pendleton, and design captain Bryce Terhune of Roseburg, ranked in the top 50 percent at the 2019 American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Student Steel Bridge Competition that concluded June 1 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The Oregon Tech team had earlier this spring placed second at the Regional version of the competition, which qualified them to compete at the nationals.

The AISC National Student Competition is an annual event open to the top contenders from AISC regional events held throughout the nation. Held in April at Saint Martin’s University in Washington, the PNW regional event included 19 schools from Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Oregon Tech’s steel bridge team placed second overall at the regional event, giving them a spot at the national competition.

AISC’s Student Steel Bridge Competition challenges student teams to develop a scale-model steel bridge, and gives students valuable hands-on experience by designing, fabricating and erecting steel bridges. The team must determine how to fabricate their bridge and then plan for an efficient assembly under timed construction at the competition. Bridges are then load tested and weighed. The bridge must span approximately 20 feet, carry 2,500 pounds, and must meet all other specifications of the competition rules. Bridge aesthetics are also judged and considered in the final results of the competition.

Placing second overall at the PNW regional event, the team had the fastest construction speed of 9.97 minutes, well ahead of the next team with a time of over 18 minutes. Spending the weeks up until the national competition practicing, the Oregon Tech team members were able to bring their construction speed down to 6.08 minutes at the national final, which earned them a fourth place finish in both the construction speed and construction economy (speed/weight) categories. Overall, the team placed 19th out of 41 teams.

Civil Engineering professor and team faculty adviser, C.J. Riley, Ph.D., shared his excitement over the team’s results.

“This is a phenomenal representation of our institution and program on a national stage, and the team’s construction performance was truly inspiring. The steel bridge team next year now has a lot of experience and knowledge to build from and they look forward to recruiting more Civil Engineering students in our bachelor’s degree program to participate next year,” Riley said.

In addition to Banister and Terhune, many other students participated in the project including Dan Iwicki (Lake Zurich, Ill.), Michael Hoie (Roseburg), Cody Faber (Saint Paul, Ore.), Kayla de Hoop (Klamath Falls), Alex Holland (Idleyld Park, Ore.), and Ian Pargeter (Eugene). Dr. Riley, and Pat Kile, civil engineering laboratory technician, provided technical support and consultation.