MSU team places first in timber bridge competition

August 19, 2013

STARKVILLE, Miss. ⎯ Winning any competition is a great success for any university team, but when two of Mississippi State’s colleges are able to work together and share resources for one project, it is the true win for Mississippi State University.

A Bagley college of Engineering team of civil engineers won the 2013 American Society of Civil Engineers National Timber Bridge Competition, with support from the College of Forest Resources.

In addition to top honors overall, MSU was recognized for using the most wood products in its bridge. The team also won best overall design and most practical design.

This was the first time in a decade that MSU has entered the competition.

“It’s a lot of fun being able to collaborate and work with the engineering students,” said Rubin Shmulsky, head of the forest products department. “I think the students learned and appreciated the production aspect of the project as much as the engineering aspect.”

Students began working on the project during the spring semester, spending a couple days every week working on the bridge until it was ready for the competition.

“Having the engineering students over here having fun, working on this project made it an enjoyable experience,” Shmulsky said. “The day we load tested the bridge for strength and deflection, and had it perform well, was one of the best days.”

The competition had three major objectives for its participants: to promote interest in the use of wood as a competitive bridge construction material, to generate innovative and cost-effective timber bridge design techniques, and to develop an appreciation of the engineering capabilities of wood.

The Mississippi State chapter of ASCE is advised by assistant professor Seamus Freyne. Team Members include (by hometown):

BRANDON — Senior civil engineering major Lando Shepherd

CLINTON — Senior civil engineering major Brian Bullock

EUPORA — Patrick Kuykendall, a senior in civil engineering

JACKSON — Mark Barry, a senior in civil engineering

MADISON — Senior Joshua Hancock, a civil engineering major

PHILADELPHIA — Landon Byars, a senior in civil engineering

STARKVILLE — Senior civil engineering majors John Dodds, Nathan Green, Hunter Hudson, John Mullins and Carly “Rae Ann” Otts

For more information on the National Timber Bridge Design Competition visit

By: Emily McConnell