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Steel Bridge Team 2017-2018

The Cal Poly Steel Bridge Team finished second in the nation against 41 universities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne.

This year’s squad set a school record for fastest construction time at 2:41. The senior project team of six civil engineering seniors devoted more than 600 hours over seven months designing and fabricating the bridge components.

2018 Steel Bridge Team

  • Project Manager: Michael Clark
  • Design Captain: Sarah Shaffer
  • Machining Captain: Gabriela Pascualy
  • Welding Captain: Luke Nazaroff
  • Construction Captain: Allen Lactaoen
  • Analysis Captain: Michael Choi
Steel Bridge Team at National competition.
“This project is different from other senior projects. We get to see it from the beginning to the end and through competition. We put a lot of time in but get to see the results. The outcome is what really makes it worth it” – Sarah Shaffer, Design Captain.

The competition rules for the steel bridge design vary every year. Time, weight, deflection and construction speed make up the final cost and the team with the lowest cost wins the competition.

During fall quarter, the team designed 2-D models of potential bridge designs using SAP and AutoCAD. They created 3-D models of their designs and narrowed them down to three. After careful research and testing, the team chose an under truss bridge because of simplistic design, quick construction time and overall cost. The team used previous steel bridge designs to analyze both effective and ineffective design elements to create their final effort.

“The time commitment is what makes it worthwhile and makes us competitive,” said Allen Lactaoen, Construction Captain.

During winter quarter, the team used donated steel from San Diego-based Century Tubes and fabricated the 29-piece bridge. Connections were made on CNC machines to create easy-sliding tubes to reduce construction time.

The team spent countless hours practicing bridge construction to improve their speed. Only four team members can assemble the bridge during the timed competition. The team took third in structural efficiency and construction economy.

The team swept all categories at the 2018 Pacific Southwest Competition held at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Cal Poly took first against 18 schools in all four categories — construction speed, lightness, stiffness and structural efficiency.

“Using all the programs during design and the hands-on experience that we get when constructing it is rewarding. Employers and companies recognize Cal Poly’s Steel Bridge team and how successful we are and really appreciate it,” said Sarah Shaffer.

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