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Steel Bridge Competition

Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe Teams at the 2018 ASCE Pacific Northwest Regional Competition. Photos courtesy of Shane Ohms and Dawn Galusha

About Steel Bridge

The University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Engineering and Mines has a legacy with the Steel Bridge Competition. Each year, since starting nearly three decades ago, the university has pushed the limits of the competition through vigorous ingenuity and teamwork. Having a small team, where funding is hard to come by and manufacturing is all done in-house, the team would seem to be at a disadvantage. However, the team has used their obstacles as challenges to overcome rather than to deter them. Through various community outreach activities, volunteering, and professional networking the Steel Bridge team gets involved with Fairbanks and raises enough funds for materials and travel to the Pacific Northwest and then onto National Conferences. Through in-house fabrication, the Steel Bridge Team learns hands on welding and design testing, and the value of transparency between design and construction. The team also focuses on building itself, developing the people around them into better, well-rounded, well-spoken and hardworking engineers of Alaska’s future.

Participating in the Steel Bridge Competition provides students with not only the experience to design a bridge based upon their engineering understanding, but also the opportunity to fabricate the design and see the entire process from start to finish. Because of this experience, engineering students involved in Steel Bridge are better rounded overall and are provided with additional opportunities upon graduation.


Support Steel BridgeSupport this year's steel bridge team and designate to ”CEM ASCE Student Competition”


Steel Bridge is co-run by the civil engineering departments two main student groups:

AGC (Associated General Contractors of Alaska)

AGC Logo

ASCE (American Society Of Civil Engineers)

ASCE logo

The Student Steel Bridge Competition is hosted by AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction)


Join Steel Bridge

Steel bridge is always accepting new members and all students are welcome to participate. Students are encouraged to join early in their academic career so that they can learn the ropes from returning students and build on their skills and engineering knowledge through steel bridge throughout their schooling. If you are interest and would like to know more please contact this years team captain listed below or swing by the new steel bridge shop located in room 116 of the ELIF building.

2019 Steel Bridge Team Captain

Taylor Tharp - tbtharp@alaska.edu

2019 Steel Bridge Competition Website & Rules

2018 Steel Bridge Design & Results

The 2018 competition was held at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls Oregon. The Bridge was designed to reduce deflection and minimize weight while meeting the dimensional envelope. The overtruss configuration of the bridge was implemented to greatly increase the stiffness of the bridge compared to an undertruss bridge of comparable weight. Plagued by both time and weight penalties at the competition we placed 5th place overall. While not a desirable result we are able to maintain positivity due to our first place finishes in both stiffness and structural efficiency and second place in display. Despite not competing at nationals as UAF has many times throughout their long history, this year will be used as a learning block for the years to come.

Results from the 2018 ASCE/AISC Steel Bridge Pacific Northwest Regional Competition:

    5th Place – Overall
    1st Place – Structural Efficiency
    1st Place – Stiffness
    2nd Place – Display
    6th Place – Economy
    6th Place – Construction Speed
    8th Place – Lightness

Photo left: Time Construction at the 2018 Regional Competition. Photo right: Nathan Hiles welding.

2018 Steel Bridge Team after the Awards Banquet. Left to Right: Nathan Larry Hiles, Rachel Bruesch, Nathan Barnett, Ryan Burnham, Taylor Tharp, Trevor Morton, Wilhelm Muench, Nikolay Donets, Jacques Neptune. All photos above courtesy of Shane Ohms and Jacques Neptune.


 Concrete Canoe

Concrete Canoe Team at the 2018 ASCE Pacific Northwest Regional Competition. Photos courtesy of Shane Ohms and Dawn Galusha.

About Concrete Canoe

Starting in 2013, UAF began participating in the concrete canoe competition at the Pacific Northwest region; and yes they do float. This competition tests: teamwork, innovative designs, concrete mix designs, writing technical reports, oral presentations, and of course canoe racing.

We spend the year coming up with innovative hull designs for stability and speed. Creating concrete mixes that are lightweight and durable. Using different reinforcing schemes to create the shape and stability of the canoe. Using communication skills to work with teammates and within the community. During the competition we participate in oral presentations, written technical reports, competitive racing with our canoes and friendly competition with other universities. We also participate in side competitions that incorporate environmental engineering, surveying, geotechnical, sustainability and a fun time.

In our region, the first place team advances to the national competition. We have had a consistent placement of 4th place until 2018 where we placed 3rd.

How to Join

To join come to a weekly meeting or sign up for the email list that will keep you updated on what is happening.

Contact info

Link to Rules and Competition Page


Ice Arch

2018 Ice Arch
2018 Ice Arch. UAF Photo by JR Ancheta.

2018-2019 Ice Arch Rules

Ice Arch Contact


Past Years






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