Hiram College


Engineering students from Manav Rachna International University participated in a Bridge Building Lab earlier this week, as part of the Global Institute for Leadership and Management at Hiram College.

The students arrived on campus in late June for coursework and training in IT, operations management, communication technology and management. In addition to time spent in the classroom, students are going on trips to educational and cultural institutions in Northeast Ohio.

John Hollenbaugh, Chief Structural Engineer at URS Corporation and David Buchanan, engineering intern at URS, facilitated the Bridge Building Lab at Hiram College. URS Corporation is a leading provider of engineering, construction and technical services for public agencies and private sector companies around the world.

Wednesday’s lab began with a discussion about bridge types, and students learned what makes each bridge different from one another. They went on to discuss the economics behind bridge design, citing factors including the following:

  • Local Materials/Expertise: the¬†availability of local materials and local wage rates (i.e. cost of labor and materials).
  • Constructability: how suited the site is for bridge construction; for example, the feasibility of carrying a large beam to the construction site.
  • Redundancy: availability of alternate load paths.¬†These load paths are part of the structure in case another load bearing path fails the bridge will safely remain in place.
  • Maintenance
  • Life cycle costs

The lab concluded with a take-away project for the students based upon all the information they learned about bridge design and construction. URS officials described a current bridge project that the corporation is working on along Interstate 69 in Indiana. The students were given the following: limits, physical and environmental constraints, and costs for the bridge embankment and walls. Their task was then to determine what would be the most effective bridge based upon all of these factors.

“The students in the Bridge Building Lab were junior and seniors majoring in engineering programs, and they all found the information quite interesting,” Hollenbaugh said, adding that he enjoyed working with them.

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