August 16, 2011 09:00 ET

Results of 2011 National Timber Bridge Competition Announced;
Competition Marks 20th Anniversary in 2012

BROOKHAVEN, MS -- The result of the 19th annual National Timber Bridge Competition were announced today. Five teams of students from universities across the U. S. matched wits in the recently completed 2011 National Timber Bridge Design Competition. Open to student chapters of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Forest Products Society (FPS) in the U.S. and Canada, the competition is sponsored by forest products and engineering interests. The 2011 Competition sponsors were longtime sponsor Unit Structures, LLC (Arkansas) and a new major sponsor for 2011 and future years in Bell Structural Solutions (Minnesota), a division of Bell Lumber & Pole Company. Southwest Mississippi Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), Inc., coordinates the annual competition.

Each team designed, constructed and tested their bridges on their home campus, then submitted documentation of their activities and results to a panel of judges for review. The competition is conducted online via the Internet. Each team is required to post design drawings, test results, and project highlights on the web at < href=""> Complete 2011entries from each team may be viewed there.

The number of entries in the 2011 competition was down from the average of 12-16 due to late announcement of the competition. It is anticipated that the 2012 Competition will be back up to full participation since full financial sponsorship by Bell Structural Solutions is already committed and an announcement of the 2012 competition will be made early in September 2011. See complete 2012 RULES at

Winner of the Best Overall Design Award was Oklahoma State University ASCE (truss team). This entry also placed first in Best Deck, first in Best Support Structure, first in Most Practical Design, and third in both Most Aesthetic and Most Innovative. The entry by the Single Arch Team of ASCE students representing San Francisco State University placed second in Best Overall Design and also took third place in both Most Practical Design and Best Deck.

The entry by the Double Arch Team of ASCE students representing San Francisco State University placed third in Best Overall Design and also took first place in Most Innovative Design, first in Most Aesthetic Bridge, second in Most Practical Design, and third in Best Support Structure. The Box Beam ASCE Team from Oklahoma State University was awarded second place in four categories: Support Structure, Deck, Aesthetic and Innovative. Ohio State University ASCE also participated in the 2011 Competition.

The test bridges were 12.5 feet (3.8 m) long and 4.5 feet (1.4 m) wide and were loaded with a test weight of approximately 4,500 pounds. Average weight of the bridge models was 1,195 pounds (543 kg). At full loading, maximum bridge deflection averaged 4.8 mm; maximum allowable deflection was 9.5 mm. Percent non-wood materials in the bridges averaged 6%; maximum percent non-wood materials allowed was 25 percent, by weight. All wood members were required to be treated to AWPA standards for ground-contact.

The competition's objectives are to promote interest in the use of wood as a competitive bridge construction material, to generate innovative and cost-effective timber bridge design techniques, and to develop an appreciation of the engineering capabilities of wood among future transportation and forest products engineers. Following the competition, most of the bridges were placed into actual use.

Following the competition, most of the bridges were placed into actual use. Laval University FPS plans to place their bridge in front of the Wood Research Center to promote the Wood Engineering program as well as the new FPS Student Chapter. Ohio State University’s bridge will find future use for pedestrians and golf carts. Oklahoma State plans to use theirs as a recruitment display for high school students interested in structural engineering. University of Texas at San Antonio plans to raffle their bridge to their ASCE professional chapter to raise money for 2010.

Contact Information:Bennie F. Hutchins, Competition Coordinator, phone 601-748-2622, Email:
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