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NJIT Steel Bridge Team Readying for National Competition in Nevada

A team of 25 NJIT civil engineering students—including many seniors—will be working round-the-clock through graduation to ready a 20-foot-long model steel bridge for a prestigious national competition.  The team qualified for this important event by taking first place in the recent Metropolitan Region Steel Bridge Competition.  This is the fourth year in a row in which NJIT has won the regional and gone on to the national.  This year’s national event will be held in May at the University of Nevada. 

 “The goal of all of these steps is to push NJIT into the top 10 in the upcoming National Steel Bridge Competition,” said Giancarlo Fricano, of Bridgewater, a captain and senior.  “Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was the moon reached in one mission. But our team has made major strides towards advancing its standing nationally.  This year, we’ve made a bridge and a team to be proud of and we’re hoping to take this further.”

Advisor John Schuring, professor of civil engineering, echoed these words.  The best we’ve ever done in this national competition is make 14th place.  That’s pretty good, too, when you consider that something like 175 teams typically compete.  However, this year, I think we really have a shot to make it into the top ten.”

(ATTENTION EDITORS:  Team members—all of whom are from New Jersey towns (see below) and their remarkable bridge will be available daily through May 1, 2009 for photos and interviews. Call Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436 for more information.)

The rigorous local competition—held this year at Polytechnic University—required teams to assemble a reduced-scale bridge (about one-tenth the size of an actual bridge) under deadline pressure. The 20-foot long bridge had to be lightweight, yet strong enough to sustain a 2,500-pound load.  NJIT’s winning model also took first place in two design categories: structural efficiency and stiffness.  Competing institutions included Columbia University, Cooper Union, Rutgers University, Stevens Institute and the College of New Jersey. 

The NJIT team used a quick-connecting pin joint that enabled them to assemble their bridge quickly. They also used a lightweight three-dimensional truss design that made for a lightweight, yet strong bridge. Two corporate partners—Acrow Bridges and Schiavone Construction Corp—helped the team construct the bridge.  

"Working on this bridge since last summer allowed our team to see its work go from a conceptual design to a final fabrication,” said Tien Tran, of Belleville, a civil engineering major and co-captain. “That’s a very rewarding experience for students to have.”  More than 18 bridge designs were considered before deciding on this final one. The team also used computer models, prototype testing and stress analyses to evaluate the bridge. 

Team members included from Essex County Angela Zidziunas, Alberto Rodriquez and Menilik Rutty, West Orange; Abdalloh Chalet, Bloomfield. Bergen County participants were Keith Corkery, Fair Lawn; Dennis McVeigh and Daryl Santos, River Edge; Peter Tomos, Wallington

South Jersey team members were Jessica Ware, Vineland; David Lam, Northfield; Kelsey Johnson, Point Pleasant.

More team members were Hertzler Awuy, Edison; Tiago Rodriques, Woodbridge; Jaime Venegas and Edward Helberg Union; John Casella, Hackettstown; Joseph Juzwin, Mt. Arlington