2014 Civil Engineering Senior Design Project: Pedestrian Bridge

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Civil Engineering seniors show off their scale architectural model (from left to right): Emily Jacobson, Jacob Hammes, and Samantha Smith.

Civil Engineering seniors show off their scale architectural model (from left to right): Emily Jacobson, Jacob Hammes, and Samantha Smith.

The senior design project chosen by the Department of Civil Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University was initiated by a “request for proposals” distributed to the three seniors in the course.  The request involved the design of a pedestrian bridge on the ERAU campus.  The bridge would provide a direct conduit for foot traffic by spanning the dry retention pond near the new College of Arts and Sciences Building. Following the competitive bidding process, senior Jacob Hammes was awarded the “contract” to design his proposed bridge. Other employees of the Mr. Hammes’ “company” were civil engineering seniors Samantha Smith and Emily Jacobson.

The bridge will not only serve as a conduit for foot traffic across the campus, but it will also act as a “standing laboratory” for the observation of the effects of loading on a structure. One of the most unique features of the bridge design is a wireless live-load monitoring system. The system features strain measuring devices located at frequent intervals across the bridge that will be connected to a computer housed in a kiosk at one end of the bridge.  Load data will be graphically presented on-screen through custom design interactive software.  Student will be able to watch pedestrians walk across the bridge and see how the structural components of the bridge are affected in real-time – a true-life demonstration of the theories discussed in the classroom!  The effects of thermal expansion and contraction will also be displayed.

Architectural model of the pedestrian bridge with interactive kiosk included.

Architectural model of the pedestrian bridge with interactive kiosk included.

Architecturally, the bridge was designed to blend in with the aerospace theme of the ERAU campus, featuring key elements such as sleek stainless steel arches, turn-buckled stainless steel support cables, and airfoil-shaped handrails. A scale architectural model was created by the design team to showcase the designs many architectural features.

The senior design project culminated in a full design package including drawings, construction schedules, and a full cost analysis.  The three students involved learned much about the bid/award/design process that is the backbone if the civil engineering industry.  Their experience with this project will serve certainly serve them well in their future careers.

Project Participants:

  • Jacob Hammes, BS Civil Engineering Spring 2014
  • Samantha Smith, BS Civil Engineering Spring 2014
  • Emily Jacobson, BS Civil Engineering Spring 2014

Faculty Advisor:

Dr. Mark Fugler, Professor of Civil Engineering