Steel Bridge Team Prepares for Competition

March 22, 2021

Members of the 2021 Steel Bridge team

Members of the 2021 Steel Bridge Team. From left to right: Kenyon Shutt, Edgar Pithua, Corey Valleroy, Olivia Bommelje, Madeline Hartranft and Blake Peters.

When he was a first-year student, Corey Valleroy went to the College’s New Student BBQ to learn about the various student organizations within Mizzou Engineering. He wanted to get involved and contribute to a club immediately, and he found that opportunity through the Steel Bridge Team.

“They stated they were a smaller club and said ‘We really need help. We’ll teach you anything,’” Valleroy said. “I helped out from the first day I showed up.”

Now, as president of the Steel Bridge Team, Valleroy, a junior from St. Peter’s, Missouri, leads the group’s planning for its entry in the annual American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Student Steel Bridge Competition. This includes finding sponsors and overseeing the design and fabrication of their entry.

This year’s contest has been altered due to COVID-19, but the team is adjusting to the new virtual format. Each team in the Midwest region is allowed to compete from its campus and submit a video of their project. Mizzou’s team is using local engineers Valleroy recruited as judges who went through training and certified they will judge the team fairly.

“There are different design specifications every year, like where you have to put the legs of the bridge,” he said. “There’s also a load test each year on a part of the bridge.”

The primary component of the competition, though, is assembling the bridge developed by the team. Teams are scored on how quickly they can put their bridge together on top of a predetermined floor plan. The pieces of the bridge are placed on both sides of the floor plan, with a “river” included in the plan. Team members cannot step over the river or drop pieces within it. They have to run back and forth around the floor plan, carrying just one piece at a time as needed.

“We have to turn into a pit crew in putting together our bridge,” Valleroy said. “It’s important we complete the bridge early, so we have time to practice assembling our 20-foot bridge before we submit our competition video.”

The team just completed its design and build phase and is currently working on improving its assembly time. The deadline to submit their competition video is April 1.