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Steel Bridge Team to Compete in Nationals

The UConn Steel Bridge team hosted and competed in the 2007 Northeast Regional Steel Bridge Competition in Storrs on March 17, 2007. In spite of winter’s last blast of heavy snowfall the preceding day, the competition went on as planned, bringing teams from throughout the Northeast, including UConn, the Universit√© Laval in Quebec, Merrimack College, the University of Maine, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, MIT, the University of New Hampshire, Northeastern University, Tufts, the University of Vermont and Wentworth Institute.

The competing teams fabricated and assembled 20-foot long steel bridges, which they previously designed to meet strict specs. The bridge models were then subjected to 2,500 pounds of weight, with no more than two inches of deflection permitted. All entries were judged for assembly time, weight, aesthetics, and deflection under loading.

By the narrowest of margins, Merrimack College took home the 2007 Northeast Regional Steel Bridge champion title. MIT took second place honors, with the 2006 champions, UConn, claiming third place. All three top qualifiers will compete in the national competition in Los Angeles on May 25-26. This is the second consecutive year that the UConn team has qualified for the national event.

The 2007 UConn team, made up of members of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) student chapter, blended members of last year’s victorious team with newcomers. The returning members included Benjamin Cote (Steel Bridge Club and ASCE chapter president), Alison Galasso, Ethan Cote, Kelly McCartney, Chris Wall (Club Vice President), Dan Veronesi, Brian Kinsley, Mathew Henion and Nick Keenan. New members included Lesley Beers, Adam Scianna, Nick Hanford, James Moriarty, Eric Boucher and Rob Smith.

The UConn team is advised by alumnus Michael Culmo, P.E., who has mentored the Steel Bridge team for a number of years. Mr. Culmo, who earned a B.S. in civil engineering in ’83 and a master’s degree in structural engineering in ’86 – both at UConn, is Vice President of Transportation and Structures for CME Associates of East Hartford, Norwich and Woodstock, CT. A number of UConn graduates also assisted in the competition by volunteering as judges.

The 2007 Northeast Regional Steel Bridge Competition was sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction Inc., American Society of Civil Engineers, The Lane Construction Corp., CME Associates, Infra-Metals, Malcolm Pirnie, Parsons Brinkeroff, Turner, STV, the DiSalvo Ericson Group and Berlin Steel.