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MIssouri Bridge Conference logoIn early April, the College of Engineering hosted a daylong Missouri Bridge Conference, largely facilitated by Charlie Nemmers, director of the college’s Transportation Infrastructure Center.

“I got a call from Dennis Heckman, the Missouri Department of Transportation’s State Bridge Engineer, and he indicated he had been to several other state bridge conferences and thought that Missouri needed one,” said Nemmers of the impetus to host the event.

A committee of people from MoDOT, and ACEC (American Council of Engineering Companies) of Missouri met to put the event together. When laying plans, the committee settled on an attendance estimate of 70 to 80 people. However, response was so positive, they had to cap registration at 120 with a waiting list of more than 30.

In addition to a wide range of speakers from private business and MoDOT, Nemmers said he was pleased to see that the planning group was interested in including something about research and technology, giving MU civil engineering Professors Erik Loehr and Glenn Washer and Missouri S&T Professor John Myers a place in the line up.

A poster session was added, and ACEC provided cash prizes for first- and second-place presentations, which went to Hesham Tuwair from Missouri S&T and MU Engineering student Pedro Ruiz Fabian, respectively.

“We tried to keep it more local — within the state — so we could have more interaction with a panel discussing bridges in Missouri,” Nemmers said.

“There were some really interesting presentations,” he added, citing “What We Have Learned from Emergency Bridge Repair” as a highlight.

“Accelerated contracting, high performance materials and innovative construction practices were discussed, including the building of a bridge alongside an existing bridge, demolishing the old bridge and sliding the new one into place,” Nemmers said.

Nemmers said the discussion on bridge management and those on design-build that followed, both were very good.

The final panel addressed bridges in Missouri with a lively discussion on what people liked and didn’t like. The audience got involved, and many good and innovative ideas were put on the table.

“The first bridge conference was a great success, and we’re all looking forward to doing it again,” Nemmers said.