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Civil & Natural Resources

Civil and Natural Resources Engineering

2012 Bridge Building Competition


More than 500 people recently watched on campus the civil engineering event which has been running since the 1980s, as part of the ENCN 213 – Design Studio 1 course.

Organiser University of Canterbury (UC) senior lecturer in structural engineering Dr Alessandro Palermo said 50 percent of the 180 civil engineering students achieved the design criteria, a better result than last year. The lightest bridge was only 10 Kg.

Bridge building has have been one of the litmus tests for second year UC civil engineering students for almost 20 years.

The bridge competition demands students to design, construct and test a bridge which sustains two people but fails with three people on it. Dr Palermo said the event aimed to stimulate the creativity and will for innovation for the next generation of bridge engineers.

"UC has produced some prominent bridge designers who are in the front line with the Christchurch rebuild including Mike Cowan, head of bridge engineering division in OPUS (Christchurch) and Nik Stewart, head of bridge division in BECA (Christchurch) ,’’ he said.

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Bridge Building

Recent graduates are working in important project. Ex-UC masters student Anton Kivell is with BECA working on the Transmission Gully bridge project in Wellington.

There are several UC master students who are deeply involved in national research projects relating to bridges including Victoria Worner and Sam White. They will become future bridge engineers.

"Their careers all started from the bridge building competition here on campus. The passion, the willingness to do it, the inspiration for a sensational bridge brings students closer to the world of bridge engineering,’’ Dr Palermo said.