DENVER (CBS4) – In Colorado, it’s estimated 500 bridges are classified as structurally deficient. Across the country, there are more than 47,000 in poor condition.

(credit: CBS)

A student engineering team from the University of Colorado Denver is applying its classroom knowledge competing in a National Steel Bridge Competition.

“Why things stand up and why things fail and how all that goes together? This group, my team basically loves structures,” Dakota Chauncey said.

(credit: CBS)

Chauncey is now a civil engineering graduate from CU Denver and leads the bridge building team. He says the idea to compete started a year ago followed by months of designs.

“From there we decided what the final bridge was going to look like or what we thought the final bridge was going to look like,” he laughed.

Several changes later, their bridge took first place in the state competition and third place in the region, giving them an opportunity to compete in the National Steel Bridge Competition.

Teams take their idea into a simulated workspace, and because time is money they then race to construct it.

(credit: CBS)

“You feel intense pressure, but we have actually excelled on pressured environments,” Dinesh Panta said.

This is another new bridge since their last competition. The first go at assembling wasn’t flawless.

“We just changed a member size and we are having a problem,” Panta said.

The second time around, it only took nine and a half minutes. Once completed, it is put to the test. The bridge has to hold a total of 2,500 pounds.

(credit: CBS)

Chauncey says he is not even sure if they win anything, but that is not why they do it.

“We love what we do.”

The team was working on their bridge late Tuesday night before leaving for the competition in Illinois on Wednesday.

Karen Morfitt

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