University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Engineering Students Get Ready for the Real World

The sounds of metal clanging across the hot pavement. Tools spinning and knocking to build the bridge structure. It’s one thing to learn about bridge construction in the classroom, but building a real bridge from scratch is what the UPJ’s Bridge Team did in March. Students designed and fabricated a steel bridge throughout the academic year to meet guidelines set forth by American Institute of Steel Construction. The bridge was part of a regional competition.

Led by Brian Huston, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, students Austin Uric, Dom Greives, Alex Vith, Seth Shaffer, and Bryce Biddle participated in the competition, where each component of the bridge was inspected to meet strict dimension requirements. Jason Mash and UPJ alumnus, Alex Crown, were judges. The assembled bridge was then measured to verify dimensions set forth in the rules. A 50 pound lateral load was then applied to the bridge and side sway was measured. The bridge cannot deflect more than 1”. The final test was to load the bridge with 2,500 pounds. The bridge cannot deflect more than 3”. Bridges in each region are then ranked based on their performance, build time, and weight.