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Mizzou steel bridge team builds for the future

From left, Mizzou steel bridge team members Matthew Brucks, Ryan Hale, Michael Stagg and Kevin Wortmann load the team's bridge with 2,500 pounds to test its stiffness during the annual national steel bridge competition.

Mizzou Engineering’s steel bridge team finished 36th in this year’s national competition, laying a foundation for next year upon which team members already are starting to build.

“We’re ready for next year,” team President Matthew Brucks said. “We’ve seen a lot and learned a lot.”

MU’s team won third place in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) regional competition in late April, earning a berth in the annual national steel bridge competition sponsored by the ASCE and the American Institute of Steel Construction. Mizzou competed against 42 other teams in the national contest held May 25–26 at the Northridge campus of California State University, posting their highest score in the “stiffness” category that measured how much a bridge deflected when loaded with 2,500 pounds.

Brucks, a civil engineering junior, said MU’s team came away with several ideas for building a lighter, stronger bridge for next year’s competition. Seeing how other teams resolved design issues—such as how best to connect bridge pieces—generated ideas that the team already is starting to explore, he said.

“We have a lot of different ideas,” Brucks said.