UW Steel Bridge Team Qualifies for Nationals!

We are a student engineering club at the University of Washington that designs and fabricates a model steel bridge each year. At the annual American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) regional student competition, we compete against a dozen other universities. Last April, our team earned 2nd place overall. This qualified our team to compete at Nationals, the first time in 21 years!

There’s a saying, "We'll cross that bridge when we get there." We built our bridge to Nationals - will you make a contribution to help us cross it?

1% Complete

$5 - Nut

Although nuts are the smallest parts of our bridge, they are critical to our success! We used two sizes of nuts for the forty bolts this year. // This gift may purchase one of the cardboard boxes that we need to safely ship the bridge on our flight to Nationals.

$10 - Bolt

Each connection between members of the bridge is required to have a bolt. This year, we used 40 bolts of varying lengths. // This amount may help us beautify the bridge by purchasing purple and gold spray paint to proudly represent the University of Washington or purchase a hungry team member a meal during our trip.

$20 - Adjustable Pipe Wrench

We use adjustable pipe wrenches to align the bolt holes on the webs of the stringers. After the holes are lined up, a bolt can be pushed through. // A $20 gift will go towards our team purchasing load testing materials. We measure the bridge's deflection before competition and need grate and angled steel pieces to replace our old, precarious rebar and assorted steel weights.

$30 - Open Head Wrench

All of the bridge's nuts and bolts must be secured tightly. We use two sizes of these wrenches to tighten them quickly. // This gift could pay for a build team pizza-dinner while we continue to prepare for Nationals.

$50 - Safety Glasses

We wear safety glasses at competition and during construction to protect our eyes. Having good PPE (personal protective equipment) is important for both our team and out on full-scale construction sites. // This donation may cover the paints and supplies we will use to beautify the bridge before display and aesthetics judging at Nationals.

$75 - Tool Belt

Our team wears tool belts to hold our tools and fasteners during assembly. This hands-free carrying method helps us put together the pieces as quickly as possible. // This donation will help us purchase steel to replace some members that were fatigued from repeated construction assembly.

$100 - Hard Hat

We proudly wear gold University of Washington hard hats at competition, though during construction in the winter we have less fancy ones. // $100 will pay for one student's registration fees at Nationals.

$200 - Footing

Our bridge has four footings that support the bridge's self weight, as well as the 2500 pounds that are loaded onto it at competition. // $200 will pay for all our shipping supplies like cardboard boxes, Styrofoam, and felt to protect the pieces.

$350 - Lateral Bracing

The lateral bracing prevents the bridge from swaying during the horizontal load test. We need to replace the steel currently used due to slight deformation from tightening the nuts and bolts too much! // $350 will pay for both nights of hotel rooms for four team members.

$500 - Connections

Our connections were our team's 'secret weapon' this year. Hundreds of hours were spent coming up with the right design, and then we got them professionally manufactured for us to assemble. Some of the connections allow us to put the bridge together without needing a nut and bolt at each point of contact. // $500 will cover rental vehicles for our team for the weekend of competition.

$800 - Stringer

The stringer is what we call the assembly of pieces that make up the length of the bridge. Our team has two that are parallel to each other, and they transfer the load from the middle to the footings. Though 17 feet long, our build team can put one together in about three minutes! // $800 will pay for the round-trip airfare for one student to go to Nationals.

$1000 - Chalybs

"Chalybs" is the name of this year's bridge. Latin for 'steel', our team wanted to celebrate the fundamental importance that steel has to our team in an eloquent manner. // Support of this magnitude is incredible - thank you! Our team will use it in the previously mentioned areas, especially flights and hotels.

Thank You for Your Gift

Our success relies on the generosity of our community. A gift today will have a lasting impact, and we are so grateful for it.

Steel Bridge Team at UW

About The Campaign

Hard-earned glory: our story will ‘steel’ your heart!


Fundamentally, the Steel Bridge Team is just what it sounds like: a team of hard-working engineering students building a steel bridge. Digging a little deeper, one can see that our team grows leaders, teaches valuable technical and soft skills, and prepares members to tackle challenges in the professional world. From employers to professors, almost everyone acknowledges that the classroom doesn’t give enough preparation for real work. The team helps prepare us!  Being part of the Steel Bridge is great practice for developing skills that will be used in our daily lives after graduation. Aspects of the team include communication, planning, leadership, critical problem solving, estimating, and analysis - these all are used at our internships and jobs. Last summer, 80% of our senior team members had an internship! 


At the regional competition at Oregon Tech on April 5-7, 2018, our team flexed the muscles we had been training the last three years. Just two years ago, the 2016 bridge was disqualified because it broke under loading. Even if it hadn't broken, it was still too heavy and too slowly assembled to earn a competitive score. Last year, the 2017 bridge passed the load testing and even earned 3rd place in least amount of deflection! This year, building on the foundation set by the 2017 team, we focused on optimizing the design to minimize deflection, weight, and assembly time. Our efforts paid off and we earned 2nd place overall; placing in the top three teams for each category: efficiency, economy, deflection, weight, and construction speed. Now, we want to show off our improvements and 'steel the show' at the national level. 

Team members work through the year designing, learning fabrication techniques, and assembling the bridge. Our design team has grown from one to four to seven over the past three years. Dividing up the work and bouncing ideas off one another was a huge factor to our success! The design team worked continually for autumn and winter quarter, from brainstorming the overall design to working out the nitty-gritty details. Meanwhile, our team gained new members when school started, and we became shop certified, took welding classes, and practiced milling techniques. At the same time, we fundraised for the year, reaching out to potential professional sponsors around the region. When the design was finished, construction stepped into the spotlight. For three weeks, our team cut, welded, and assembled the steel pieces. The bridge became a reality! Then, it was handed off to the build team. The build team practiced for dozens of hours, creating an efficient plan for staging, sequencing, and assembly techniques. At competition, the build team’s efforts were tremendous, taking first place in the construction speed category!

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Breaking down our budget

Nationals was an unexpected, though pleasantly surprising, expense to plan for this year. We need to raise about $15,000 total to pay for the competition registration, flights, hotels, and rental cars for our team over Memorial Day weekend. We are so grateful for professional donations from Shaq Thompson, UW Alum and now linebacker for the Carolina Panthers, Nucor Steel, Atkinson Construction, The Rush Companies, Puget Sound Steel, Shimmick Construction, Notevault, and AISC, which have lowered the crowd-funding goal to $5,000.

Flights: $815/member * 14 members= $11,410
Hotels: $150/room/night * 3 rooms * 2 nights = $900
Rental Vehicles: estimated at $500
Student registration: $100/member * 14 members = $1400
Team uniforms: $20/shirt * 14 members = $280
Bridge packing materials: estimated at $200
Unexpected costs fund: $300


As the support comes in, we will show progress updates with a time lapse of the bridge being built - every $150 dollars will “assemble” one piece of the bridge. Please help us “build” the bridge before we depart for Nationals! 

View the video of assembly from when we reached 77% on Thursday 5/10.

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Meet the team

Our team has sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the UW's College of Engineering civil, electrical, and mechanical departments. Some members have been on the team for three years, others just joined last quarter. Please read through our profiles to meet us!

James Roney
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Kiri Takanishi
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Tommy Tang
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Marie Arnold
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Zach Taylor
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Philip Yu
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Joseph Lasensky
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Melina Soto
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Kiran Kaur
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Alex Ilias
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Cody Filley
Timothy Dumais
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Ashley Pigott
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Katarina Kubiniec
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Kyle Coit
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Lawrence Taicz
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Martha Quigg