May 05, 1999 09:00 ET

Southwest MSRCD Announces 7th Annual Timber Bridge Competition Results

BROOKHAVEN, MS--(May 05, 1999) - Southwest Mississippi Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. today announced the results of it's 7th annual National Timber Bridge Competition.

Fourteen teams of students from twelve universities across the US and Canada matched wits to devise a better way to "cross the creek" during the Seventh National Timber Bridge Design Competition. Open to student chapters of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Forest Products Society (FPS), the competition was made possible by a grant from the US Forest Service through its Wood In Transportation Program. Additional financial support was provided by the Southern Pine Council of the Southern Forest Products Association and Unit Structures, Inc., of Magnolia, AR. Southwest Mississippi Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), Inc., coordinated the competition, with the Civil Engineering Department at Mississippi State University providing technical assistance. 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. This year for the second time, the competition was online via the Internet, as each team was required to post design drawings, test results, and project highlights on the Web at Click on "1999 Competition Results" to view details of Competition results and to access each entry in its entirety.

In the performance category, the award for Best Support Structure went to University of New Hampshire ASCE Chapter. The support structure consisted of two longitudinal laminated veneer lumber 2-inch x 8-inch prismatic beams supported at two interior points by a space truss with pre-stressed cable. Second and third place went to Virginia Tech FPS and Lawrence Technological Institute (MI) ASCE.

The performance award for Best Deck was captured by University of British Columbia FPS - Team 1. Their bridge was decked with a double layer of 1 x 4 SPF overlapping in a herring bone pattern. Virginia Tech FPS and San Jose State University ASCE placed second and third.

Winner of the Best Design Award was University of Pittsburgh ASCE. Their twin, circular arc, tapered arches of yellow pine with segmented chords incorporated high-strength steel hangers supporting carbon-reinforced Eastern pine floor beams decked with 1 x 6-inch Radiotta pine planking. The entry also was awarded second place in both Most Aesthetic and Most Innovative Design. Check it out at their website ( Second and third place in Best Design went to Utah State University ASCE (Team 2) and San Jose State University ASCE.

University of New Hampshire ASCE's entry also won first place in Most Practical Design, with second and third going to Utah State University ASCE (Team 2) and University of British Columbia (Team 2).

Most Aesthetic Design, first place, went to the entry by Utah State university ASCE (Team 2). Its twin hand-made glu-lam arches supported eight evenly spaced-engineered wood I-beams decked with 2 x 6-inch tongue-and-groove fir. Second and third went to University of Pittsburgh ASCE and Oregon State ASCE.

Awards for Most Innovative Design were awarded to University of New Hampshire ASCE, first; University of Pittsburgh ASCE, second; and San Jose State University ASCE, third. Other schools entering the Competition were Mississippi State University, Ohio University, Clarkson University, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, and Utah State University (Team 1).

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.

The test bridges were approximately 11-feet long and 5-feet wide and were loaded with a test weight of approximately 4,500 pounds. Average weight of the bridge models was 234 kg. At full loading, maximum bridge deflection ranged from 0.50 mm to 6.96 mm. Maximum allowable deflection was 8 mm. Net Deck deflection averaged 0.91 for the nine bridges that met the maximum allowable deflection of 2 mm. Percent non-wood materials in the bridges ranged from two percent to eighteen percent; maximum percent non-wood materials allowed was 25 percent, by weight. A total of 118 students spent 4,255 hours on the competition, competing for $10,000 in prizes. Judges were Maurice Rhude, Sentinel Structures, Inc., Peshtigo, WI; Merv Eriksson, US Forest Service, Missoula, MT; and Doug Burgin, Southern Forest Products Association, Kenner, LA.

For additional information on the designs referenced above or for information on competition rules and instructions for the 2000 competition, contact Southwest Mississippi RC&D, Inc., 747 Industrial Park Rd., NE, Brookhaven, MS 39601, phone 601-833-5539, fax 601-835-0054, e-mail, or keep an eye on the website at Rules for 2000 are due out by mid-September 1999.

Contact Information:
Bennie F. Hutchins
(601) 833-5539
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Report errors to: Keith Mazer.