SDSU bridge builders headed to nationals, including Edgerton student
Six SDSU students constructed a 329-pound bridge in 28 minutes and 30 seconds.
BROOKINGS, S.D. — Tackling a complicated bridge-building project with an inexperienced crew, a group of civil engineering students from South Dakota State University, including one from Edgerton, figured out how to span the Sweetwater River near San Diego and qualified for a national competition.
The American Society of Civil Engineers began the student steel bridge competition in 1987, challenging student teams to develop a scale-model steel bridge to fit a given hypothetical environment. Each team must determine how to design and fabricate a bridge and then plan for an efficient assembly under timed construction at a competition. Bridges are then load-tested and weighed.
SDSU students competed in the Mid-America Student Symposium at Kansas State University in Manhattan April 15, finishing third and qualifying for nationals in San Diego June 2-3.
This is the first time since 2019 and only the second time in school history for the bridge-building team to qualify for nationals.
After returning from Easter break, students had one week to build and test the bridge. They practiced six times before heading to Kansas State, where there was a 30-minute time limit.
Contest rules make assembly a very structured activity. All parts must be disassembled, and the tools and parts must fit in a designated area prior to the competition. When a team's 30 minutes begin, each bridge piece (a total of 91) must be carried one part at a time to the assembly area, where there also is an imaginary river that the crew cannot cross.
Six SDSU students constructed a 329-pound bridge in 28 minutes and 30 seconds. Caleb Huizenga said the team hopes to lower that time at nationals, where some 40 teams are expected.
The winning team's bridge will be the prototype for a river bridge in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, where the current bridge is no longer vehicle worthy.
The six students who built the bridge at the regional contest were Huizenga, of Pierre, South Dakota; Erik Thompson, of Prior Lake, Josiah Anderson, of St. Hilaire, Jack Roering, of Mankato, Jalen DeJong, of Edgerton, and Alex Foley, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Other team members are Luke Nichols, of North Liberty, Iowa, Riley Oetken, of Le Mars, Iowa, Matthew Croke, of Faribault, Ryan Borris, of Miltona, and Mamdouh Almhed, of Brookings.