Apr 272003
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

A steel bridge built by a team of civil engineering students from CSU placed first overall in regional competition and is headed to nationals at the end of May.

The regional competition in Logan, Utah, was held the first week of April, but the process of preparing the bridge began last fall.

“We took all of fall semester and about three weeks into this semester,” said Justin Meihaus, team co-captain. “Every week we chose something different (to work on). By the end of finals we had the whole design.”

Meihaus, a sophomore in civil engineering, said the team had meetings twice a week during the fall semester and that there were some students who worked outside of that.

Chris Turnbull-Grimes, a freshman on the team, said there are about 25 people in the club. About 15 were highly involved in the process.

Five students helped assemble the bridge in the competition and Meihaus said the team received no weight penalties, which affected the scores of other teams.

Co-captain Jason Andrews, a senior in civil engineering, said his favorite part of the competition was putting the bridge together.

“(I liked) the construction part, being able to put it together fast,” he said.

Turnbull-Grimes said the bridge was designed to hold 1,000 pounds on one side and 15,000 on the other. The bridge is 24 feet long, built to cover 14 and 7 feet gaps.

Loading the bridge was the part that Meihaus said was his favorite.

“Seeing (the bridge) do what we wanted it to do was one of the best things,” he said.

To pay for the costs of the bridge, Meihaus said the team has done a lot of fundraising. He estimated the cost of going to nationals at $5,000. In order to reach that amount, more fundraising will need to be done.

Meihaus said that this is a good show of student work, as many schools hire outside help to complete their project.

“Everything you see is done by students,” Meihaus said. “We want to show we can compete with the big schools.”

CSU will be host to the regional competition in April 2004 and the Colorado School of Mines will have the national competition.

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