2016 ASCE/AISC Steel Bridge Competition

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) steel bridge competition is an annual student event in which university student chapters of ASCE from around the United States can participate. For the competition students in the field of structural engineering are tasked with the design, fabrication, and construction of a steel bridge while following the rules and regulations set forth. A panel of judges then scores each team’s bridge on the following six categories:

  1. Display – Appearance of bridge, identification of the school on the bridge, and a poster that explains the thought process including sponsors, advisors, and technicians.
  2. Construction Speed – The team that constructs the bridge with the quickest time wins this category.
  3. Construction economy – A formula is devised to calculate a dollar amount based on the number of builders, the time of the assembly, and the use of temporary piers.
  4. Lightness – The team with the lightest bridge wins this category.
  5. Stiffness – The team with the lowest aggregate deflection wins this category.
  6. Structural efficiency – A formula is devised to calculate a dollar amount based on the weight and deflection of the bridge.

The event is primarily sponsored by both ASCE and AISC and consists of both regional and national competitions. University chapters successful in the regional competitions can advance to the national competition. Each year this competition is hosted by a different university. This year in 2016 the national competition will be held at Brigham Young University May 27-28. Trine […]

30th Annual CEPDS Conference

The 30th Annual Civil Engineering Professional Development Seminar (CEPDS) Conference was held at Purdue University on November 19, 2015. The conference opened up with a presentation from ASCE President Elect Norma Jean Mattei, PhD, speaking about Ten Years After Katrina. This covered the failures that happened during the hurricane along with failures after the hurricane. It also covered all the lessons learned from engineering and the administrative side of natural disasters. As a native from New Orleans, Norma Jean had great insight on the disaster.

The Bridge Track sessions of the conference covered:

  • Short-Term Maintenance of Traffic
  • Preventative Maintenance Plan Development
  • Accelerated Bridge Construction
  • Bridge Hydraulics and Scour
  • Design and Lifecycle Considerations for Steel Highway Bridges

The Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) session gave some exposure to what goes into the development of the schemes typically used on a bridge project. They skimmed over a typical long term project scheme and focused on the differences for a short term project, typically bridge maintenance or repair projects.

Preventative Maintenance is a burning topic for bridge engineers in Indiana as everyone is learning how to implement the policy. This session covered plan development and was insightful as to where INDOT is headed in the near future. Simple preventative maintenance projects do not always require full plan sets and can be greatly simplified. One of the biggest changes includes that INDOT will be allowing is 8.5” x 11” plan sets that can be as short as four sheets. Project scope goes a […]

South Bend Smart Streets Initiative

Over the course of the past year, Lawson-Fisher Associates has been working with the City of South Bend and a team of other engineering firms in developing plans to turn the Smart Streets Initiative into a reality. This initiative, championed by the Department of Community Investment, aspires to assist in the revitalization of Downtown South Bend by making it more pedestrian and bicyclist friendly, thus increasing retail activity.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2016 and be substantially complete in the fall of 2016. The project area will extend from Chippewa Avenue to Angela Boulevard, and will include work on Main Street, Michigan Street and St. Joseph Street. All road construction impacts traffic, and this large project will be no different. If your plans include travel to, from, through, around or near the project area, you should allow for some additional travel time.

The City of South Bend has a website devoted to this project which includes project descriptions, videos of public meetings, conceptual plans, and roundabout information (including a link to an interesting Mythbusters video regarding roundabout efficiency). Additional information will be made available once construction begins, as well as news stories and construction traffic updates through local news outlets.


Legislative Update – Transportation Funding

Transportation Funding on the local, state and national level is a topic that the civil engineering community routinely engages on several levels. At LFA we are encouraged to be involved in this process, whether it’s through personal awareness of the issues, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in an educational and advocacy role or through the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) in a lobbying and policy influence role. More specifically, past and present LFA employees have contributed to this process in the following areas:

  • 2010 Indiana ASCE Infrastructure Report Card
  • 2009 National ASCE Infrastructure Report Card
  • ACEC Government Affairs Committee
  • Testifying at targeted Infrastructure Bill Hearings
  • ACEC INDOT Committee

Transportation Funding has been at the forefront of legislative and political discussions. On a national level, transportation funding has been a point of discussion mainly as a result of the 36 temporary extensions that were passed under the MAP 21 bill. This approach to a long term funding strategy created planning and implementation hurdles on all levels of government. In response to these issues Congress enacted and the President signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) bill. It has been anticipated that Indiana will receive approximately $500 million more per year, increasing the total allocations to $5.5 billion in federal funds over the next five years. While all the details of the five year funding plan are still emerging, we do know that this is a positive step in creating consistency and stability in […]

2015: The Year in Review

Merry Christmas from LFA!