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UW Team Competes in Second Annual Canadian National Steel Bridge Competition

Anyone who says the University of Waterloo has no spirit wasn’t at the second annual Canadian National Steel Bridge Competition (CNSBC). This year the CNSBC was hosted in Quebec City by Laval University. The CNSBC allows universities to promote engineering excellence on a national level and to network with industry leaders. The University of Waterloo Steel Bridge (UWSB) design team spent several months designing, fabricating and constructing a 1:10 scale model bridge to simulate a bridge going over the scenic and environmentally sensitive Jacques-Cartier River.

The competition kicked off on Friday, May 11th, where the UWSB team unloaded and set-up their steel bridge for judging. The exhibition facilitated the collaborative exchange of ideas and showcased ingenious designs from every university, including: École de Technologie Supérieure, École Polytechnique, University of British Columbia, Université Laval, University of New Brunswick, Université McGill, and University of Toronto. This afforded the team a great opportunity to learn about the design of other bridges and to practice their conversational French with the locals.

During the timed construction portion of the competition, the Construction team stepped up to the plate as the rest of the team cheered them on. Only the best of the best who volunteered were hand chosen to be part of the Construction Team. Under the direction of  the Construction Captain Steven Chuo and his wise words “Don’t mess up,” they constructed the bridge within 20 minutes. The bridge was loaded to 2000 lbs without failure and remained within acceptable deflection. The team didn’t mess up . It was their athleticism, finesse, and cool headedness under pressure that led to their success. Good work team!

Though the team placed 5th overall, they cheered the loudest, helped everyone out, and stuck together throughout the competition. That is why UWSB won the Spirit of the Competition Award for the second time; nice guys don’t finish last, they finish 5th.

Despite many hours on the road and 6 A.M. wake-up calls every morning, the team celebrated their hard work together at the end-of-competition banquet. Even after an exhausting weekend, they were dressed to impress and ready to show off the University of Waterloo spirit. After a successful weekend, the team loaded up the bridge and got back on the road, stopping for a quick game of frisbee after their prompt ejection from La Belle Province.

The UWSB team is made up of both undergraduate and graduate students, all dedicated to learning real world steel design skills. The team focuses on designing, fabricating, and constructing a 20 foot span modular steel bridge at annual competitions. Students spend eight months prior to the competition designing and fabricating pieces that must fit within the dimensions of 3 feet by 4 inches by 6 inches. The competition is based on design aesthetics, structural efficiency, and construct-ability. The UWSB team provides students the opportunity to learn how to cut, drill and weld; these are all skills that will hopefully make them better designers when they go out into the real world.

UWSB represents the University of Waterloo internationally at the annual American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Conference in the Steel Bridge Competition. This April, UWSB attended the ASCE Steel Bridge Competition, hosted by Syracuse University. After an amazing display of technical expertise and skill, the University of Waterloo team placed an impressive 4th out of 13 teams. After a triumphant return to campus the team went straight back to work planning, repairing, and practicing for the CNSBC.

Congratulations to the members on all their hard work and dedication to the team. The team has developed the reputation of being the nicest, friendliest, and most cooperative team at every CNSBC and the University is proud that they have set the standard for spirit at these competitions.

UWSC would like to extend a special thank you to their advisors Dr. Scott Walbridge and Richard Morrison for their valuable technical support.

Big thank you also to all the sponsors but especially the gold level sponsors: Steel Plus, Metal Supermarkets, IBI Group, and ELLIS Engineering. Competing in national and international competitions would not have been possible without their support.

The UWSB team would like to recognize their team captains: Laurent Gérin and Kyle Pellerin, Construction Captains: Steven Chuo and Matthew Tonello, Finance Captains: Nathalie Skaf and Wendy Chikowero, Design Captains: Andrew Robinson and Tim Tedford, Fabrication Captains: Melanie Perreault and Paul Cassell, Public Relations Captains: Setareh Mearian and Kyla Rodgers, Rules and Regulations Captains: Manzora Nero and Angela Li, the Construction Team: Steven Chuo, Melanie Perreault, Yugue Chen, Matt Yang, and everyone else who made it to Quebec City to cheer on the team. Last but not least, a shout out to Pierre and Patrice, the pair of piers that supported the team when no one else could.

For more information about the team or if you interested in participating next year, please visit the team’s website: https://www.uwaterloosteelbridge.com/

Good luck to UWSB in next year’s competitions! University of Waterloo expects great things!

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