KU News Release

April 28, 2011
Contact: Cody Howard, School of Engineering, 785-864-2936

Engineering students compete in regional steel bridge contest

More Information

LAWRENCE — A team of students from the University of Kansas School of Engineering is looking for innovative ways to deal with pressure as finals approach.

In addition to managing the stress of end-of-the-year classroom demands, the team of seven engineering students must design a structure that outlasts other universities competing today at the 2011 Regional Student Steel Bridge Competition at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

The competition emphasizes the amount of weight the bridge can support and keeping estimated “real-world” construction costs low, while teams race the clock to assemble their structures. KU steel bridge team captain Chris Hagan, a sixth-year senior in architectural engineering, said this year’s competition guidelines throw in a new wrinkle — a cantilever, which is a design that leaves a span of the bridge without any direct support from below.

“That certainly throws in a curveball for everyone,” Hagan said. “This is the first year we’ve had a cantilever. In previous years, the bridges have always been simply supported, and then they’ve just changed some of the specifications. It’s going to be pretty tricky.”

The KU bridge is 21 feet long, 3 feet wide, 2 feet 6 inches tall and weighs around 315 pounds. It has an estimated real-world cost of about $4 million. The competition requires construction be complete within 30 minutes, but Hagan is confident the four team members assembling it will be done in about seven minutes. Hagan said the cantilever, or freely suspended, portion of the bridge must support 700 pounds and the rest of the structure must support 1,800 pounds. The entire bridge will also be tested on its lateral support — where judges will place 75 pounds on the side of the structure and pull it. If it sways farther than one-half inch, the team is disqualified.

Hagan said the team is looking to finish in the top three among approximately a dozen teams competing at regionals — which would secure a spot at the national steel bridge competition, set for May 21-22 at Texas A&M University in College Station.

“We certainly want to qualify for nationals, and we’re confident we will,” Hagan said. “We’re kind of bummed because nationals is on the same weekend as graduation and we have a lot guys on the team graduating. We’ll have a tough decision to make after regionals, assuming we do as well as we expect.”

Team members are listed below by hometown, level in school, major, parent names and high school and/or degrees earned.

From Mission 66202
Joshua Ryan Morris, senior in civil engineering; Stanton and Pamela Morris; Shawnee Mission North High School

From Lakin 67860
Zachary Kane Yakel, senior in architectural engineering; Rick and Barbara Yakel; Lakin High School

From Wichita 67206
Chris Peter Hagan, senior in architectural engineering; Peter and Kim Hagan; Kapaun Mount Carmel High School

Jonathan James Kalinowski, senior in mechanical engineering, business administration and supply chain management; James and Sally Kalinowski; Kapaun Mount Carmel High School

Amr D. Nagati, master’s student in civil engineering; Mohammad and Donna Nagati; bachelor’s degree from KU; Wichita Heights High School

From Topeka 66615 and Phnom Pneh, Cambodia
Say Hak Bun, senior in civil engineering; Sek Bun (Phnom Pneh, Cambodia) and Kevin Xie (Topeka)

From Las Vegas 89118
Jelindo Angelo Tiberti III, master’s student in civil engineering; Jelindo and Sandee Tiberti; bachelor’s degree from KU; Bishop Gorman High School.

From Phnom Pneh and Topeka, Kan.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

kunews@ku.edu | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045

KU Today

Subscribe to our daily newsletter covering research, academics, media coverage, campus news, events & more. Subscribe




The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university’s programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 West Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas, medical center campuses).