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UMass Lowell Students Build Steel Bridge in National Contest

Team Competes in Championship Round for the First Time

UMass Lowell Image
Prof. Susan Faraji with members of UMass Lowell's steel bridge team.


Contacts:  Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or
                  Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or
LOWELL, Mass. – UMass Lowell students participated for the first time in the championship round of a national engineering competition that asked them to design and build a model of a steel bridge.

The UMass Lowell team placed 14th among 49 collegiate teams in the final round of the 2013 Steel Bridge Competition held at the University of Washington in Seattle in June. 

Sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Institute of Steel Construction, the competition asked student teams from across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico to design and fabricate a scale model of a steel bridge, then build it on site. 

UMass Lowell students – all civil-engineering majors – who participated in the championships are team captain Ross Gladstone of Chelmsford, Zachary Greene of Haverhill, James McDermott of Tewksbury, Khristopher Dardzinski and Mark Procopio of Saugus, Patrick Raistrick of Woburn and Michael Shustack of Boston. The team was advised by UMass Lowell faculty member Susan Faraji, who teaches structural engineering.

“We are fairly new to this competition, so it felt really good to be able to compete. We did exceptionally well and we are very pleased with our results,” said Gladstone. 

To advance to the championship round, the UMass Lowell team placed third in the competition’s regional finals. Teams in both rounds were judged on how quickly they could assemble their bridge, its structural efficiency, economy, lightness and stiffness, and the quality of a presentation about their work.

The bridge built by the UMass Lowell team spanned 15 feet, 10.5 inches, weighed 104 pounds and could support 2,500 pounds of distributed weight. Its 39 sections were held together by 66 bolts. In the championship round, team members assembled the entire bridge in less than 11 minutes.   

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 16,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers.