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March 2015

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This month’s newsletter includes information about:

    • 2016 World Steel Bridge Symposium Call for Papers is now Open.
    • NSBA Legislative Update.
    • First Student Steel Bridge Regional Competition signals Start of Competition Season.
    • 2015 Accelerated Bridge Construction Call for Awards.
    • This Month's MSC - High Performance Steel Bridge Coating Options.
    • Mark your Calendar for these Upcoming Events.


2016 World Steel Bridge Symposium Call for Papers is now Open

The 2016 World Steel Bridge Symposium, to be held April 13-15, 2016 in Orlando, Florida, is now accepting papers for presentation. The organizers of the 2016 WSBS are interested in papers that deal with all aspects of steel bridge design and construction. Papers will be requested based on acceptance of abstracts of 500 words or less. Below is a list of important information.

  • Preferred format is a pdf attachment.
  • Send abstracts to abstracts@steelbridges.org
  • Abstracts are due by June 5, 2015
  • Authors will be notified of acceptance by July 17, 2015
  • Completed papers for review must be received by November 13, 2015

The World Steel Bridge Symposium brings together design engineers, construction professionals, academicians, transportation officials, fabricators, erectors, and constructors to discuss and learn state-of-the-art practices for enhancing steel bridge design, fabrication, and construction techniques.

2016 WSBS Graphic


NSBA Legislative Update

While almost all of our elected officials recognize the need and benefits of a robust national infrastructure program, efforts to fund this program have not been successful.

After last fall's election, many industry groups (such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and including AISC and NSBA) concentrated on efforts to encourage the federal government to increase gas taxes to provide funding for transportation infrastructure. The theory was that with so many congressmen leaving office--either through election loss or retirement--they'd be willing to put aside their fear of voter push-back and fund this critical issue. Unfortunately, that effort was unsuccessful.

It was also hoped that with both Houses of Congress now under Republican control, this critical issue could move forward. So far, however, any serious discussion of transportation needs has been derailed by divisive issues such as Obamacare, immigration reform and Israel/Iran conflicts.

The current bill expires on May 31, 2015 and without action the transportation fund will run completely out of money by the end of September.

But while the need is clear, the financing mechanism is not.

There are a number of methods under consideration to generate the needed funds:

1)  Raise the gas tax (Sounds easy but politically difficult)

2)  Tax repatriated corporate profits being held oversees. (Again, sound easy but likely part of larger “tax reform” issue that will take months)

3)Expand Public-Private Partnerships with expanded bonding mechanisms.

4)Create a National Infrastructure Bank (Several senators and President Obama support this.)

In addition, some lobbyists and congressmen are supporting devolution, where the federal government turns over all funding to the states.

Each of these has strong supporters in Congress as well as opponents.

Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the Obama administration and Congressman Bill Shuster’s (R-PA) are all working on proposals.

With three bills in the draft stage, all with similar scope of long-term need, there's growing optimism that some degree of compromise can be reached on the funding mechanism. Unfortunately, none of the options will do the trick long-term. Likely some blend of mechanisms could work provided at least some form of partial offsets can be defined to bring the outliers to the center.

Pat Loftus is Chairman Emeritus and Legislative Consultant for the National Steel Bridge Alliance


 First Student Steel Bridge Regional Competition signals Start of Competition Season

Fourteen university teams from Texas and Mexico gathered at the University of Texas, Austin, on January 17 for the first ASCE/AISC Student Steel Bridge regional competition of 2015. The University of Texas, San Antonio, won first place; the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México took second; and third place went to Texas A&M University.

Now in its 24th year, the competition brings together engineering students from across North America to assemble their own designed and fabricated steel bridges while striving for the shortest time under a specific set of building rules that change each year.

“It’s exciting to watch the next generation of structural engineers come together and work with such passion and enthusiasm,” said Nancy Gavlin, AISC director of education. “The competition poses real-world challenges that the students face with ingenuity and professionalism.”

Even at one-tenth the size of a full-scale bridge, the experience is quite comparable to the real thing. Participating students apply engineering principles and theory, culminating in a steel structure that meets client specifications and optimizes both performance and economy. They also gain valuable practical experience in structural design, fabrication processes, construction planning, organization, project management and teamwork.

Students’ bridges are judged in the following categories: display, construction speed, stiffness, lightness, construction economy and structural efficiency. The teams with the best combined rankings across all six categories earn overall award recognition.

Throughout the academic year, the student teams work for months perfecting the design, fabrication and construction of each bridge. To reach the national event, teams must place among the top performing schools in one of 18 regional competitions held across the country each spring. Last year, more than 200 schools competed in the regional competitions; 49 of them qualified for nationals.

The 2015 National Student Steel Bridge Competition finals will be held May 22-23 at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. For more information, visit www.aisc.org/steelbridge or www.nssbc.info.

Student Regional Competition (Texas)

Student team members from the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México hustle to assemble their steel bridge at this year’s first Student Steel Bridge regional competition, held at the University of Texas, Austin, earlier this month. Photo: AISC.


2015 Accelerated Bridge Construction Call for Awards

The 2015 National ABC Conference will be held December 6-8 in Miami, Florida. During the Conference, awards will again be given to best ABC projects in several categories and most influential person contributing to the cause and implementation of ABC. The 2015 awards categories are as follows:

1. Most Influential Person Contributing to the Cause and Implementation of ABC

2. Best ABC Project in the following categories:

    a. Lateral Slide Technology

    b. Self-Propelled Modular Transporters

    c. Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems

    d. Emergency

To be eligible, nominations must be submitted on the official entry form templates. All entries are due by 11:59 pm EST, September 15, 2015. Submissions received after that date will not be accepted. Entries are to be submitted via email to Atorod Azizinamini. For additional information and the official entry form, follow this link.

To view the 2014 award winners click here.

ABC Eggners Ferry 

2014 ABC Award Winner (Emergency Replacement) Eggners Ferry Birdge Replacement Project. Aurora, Kentucky.


This Month's MSC - High Performance Steel Bridge Coating Options.

INDUSTRIAL PAINT SYSTEMS have been and continue to be the workhorse corrosion protection system for steel highway bridges.

For about the first 100 years of steel bridge construction, paint systems consisted of primarily simple, single-package, easyto-apply, inexpensive, lead-containing paints. The lead pigment served as a corrosion inhibitor, and these coatings were easy to use in both new construction and maintenance painting applications. They were typically applied directly over intact mill scale and were used as a “one-size-fits-all” corrosion protection system. Several key factors came together during the 1970s and 1980s to force the evolution of bridge painting systems toward the much more durable systems in use today. The advent of high-production centrifugal blasting equipment coupled with increased demands by bridge owners for durability allowed for truly clean, profiled surfaces for paint application—thus opening the door for use of high-performance coating systems. Additionally, concerns over environmental and worker health and safety issues associated with lead-containing paints helped force change

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