Bridge beats stiff competition

This past weekend, senior civil engineering majors Shannon Murray, Danielle Novak, Thomas Lombardi and John Savage participated in a regional competition for the National American Institute of Steel Construction & the American Society of Civil Engineers Collegiate Bridge Competition. It was held at the New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn.

The first challenge of the conference was titled the “Mead Paper Competition.” Teams were required to write a 2,000-word essay and prepare a five-minute presentation on “Eminent Domain and the Engineer’s Ethical Responsibilities.” The College won first place out of 10 participating schools.

The second challenge was to build a model bridge. The bridge had to be constructed in under an hour over a nine-foot wide “river,” in which the contestants could not step.

The bridge the College’s students built was 5 feet 5 inches tall, four feet wide and 20 feet long.

Eight schools competed in the bridge competition for a spot in the National Competition in California.

The bridges were judged on lightness, construction speed, aesthetics, construction economy, stiffness and structural efficiency. The College received first place in aesthetics and fourth place in stiffness. The New Jersey Institute of Technology won best overall bridge.

“Every year the senior engineers at (the College) must partake in a project dealing in the design of analysis of anything the student chooses that is related to their concentration,” Savage said. “The student can either work in a team or by themselves, depending on the size of the project, and must be approved by a faculty member and deemed worthy of a design/analysis project.”

When asked how the team met, Murray said, “There are only seven of us in the first graduating class of civil engineers from the College, so we have been together in classes since freshman year. Many classes are composed of only the seven of us.”

The team found out about the competition through the College chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and their professor and advisor Nabil Al-Omaishi.

Research and fundraising for the project began a year ago, during the spring semester. Design for the bridge began in the fall and fabrication of the bridge began this semester.