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Steel bridges have a proud history, connecting communities over the course of decades--even across centuries. Steel bridges endure.
Designing and building attractive, efficient, economical, durable, and sustainable steel bridges is part art, part science. The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) launched its Prize Bridge Competition in 1928 as a way to showcase steel bridge excellence.
Today's Prize Bridge Awards recognize bridges on a biennial basis, with winners in the spotlight at the World Steel Bridge Symposium, which is incorporated into NASCC: The Steel Conference.
If you have recently worked on a bridge that embodies the pioneering spirit of modern bridge-building, we want to hear about it!
New for 2024: Owner of the Year
NSBA is establishing a new Prize Bridge Award category specifically for American bridge owners whose innovative steel project(s) drive the industry forward.
You simply can’t recognize innovative bridges without also acknowledging the people who make it all possible: the DOTs, counties, cities, tollways, and other entities around the country that own bridges. They make the hard calls on the bridges that connect American communities every day.
And there’s a lot more to owning a bridge than just, well, the bridge. So this award will also recognize things like design, research, or innovative contract delivery methods that were instrumental to a project’s success.
Bridges of any type or size are eligible for this category, provided that they are built of structural steel produced and fabricated in the United States, located in the U.S. (defined as the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories), and were completed and opened to traffic between September 9, 2021, and August 31, 2023. And yes, the same bridge can win a Prize Bridge Award in a project-based category and bring home the Owner of the Year!
The judges will consider innovation, advancement of the industry, economics, design, design/research team, engineering solutions, and project delivery methods when evaluating submissions, and they will give higher priority to projects by in-house design and/or research teams.
Bridge of the Year
All projects eligible for a 2024 Prize Bridge Award are also eligible for the Bridge of the Year.
The panel of expert judges select three finalists, then those teams take the stage at the World Steel Bridge Symposium to show off what makes their bridges truly exceptional. The audience votes right then and there to choose a winner!
How It Works
The best bridges are built by teams, and any member of the project team may submit a bridge for consideration.
A panel of industry professionals considers innovation, economics, aesthetics, design, and engineering solutions. The competition has six categories:
- Short span - No single span greater than 140 ft.
- Medium span - Longest span equal to or greater than 140 ft. but less than 300 ft.
- Major span - One or more spans greater than or equal to 300 ft.
- Movable span
- Rehabilitation - Projects that work on an existing structure without replacing primary members. New structures built on an existing alignment should be entered by span length.
- Special purpose - Bridge that does not fit any of the above categories. Examples include bridges for pedestrians, pipelines, and airplanes.
Each bridge may compete in only one category. All entries in all competition categories will be considered for Bridge of the Year and Owner of the year.
The judges may move submitted bridges between categories if they think a project is better suited to a category that’s different than the one in which it was entered. The judges consider each bridge in terms of innovation, economics, aesthetics, design, and engineering solutions.
At their discretion, judges may also present a Presidential Award for truly exceptional projects.
What You’ll Need to Enter
Be sure to have the following on hand to fill out the entry form:
- information and a contact person for all of the companies that made a substantive contribution to the design’s innovation. This should include the owner, structural engineer, general contractor, steel fabricator, steel detailer, bender/roller (if applicable), steel erector, and any key consultants.
- what makes your bridge an example of innovative design and construction excellence. You’ll find more details about what this should include in the “How to enter” section of the full rules further down on this page.
- 6-20 print-quality images that show off the project and its most exciting features. AISC recommends a selection of photos that show the completed bridge and the bridge during construction/fabrication. You may also submit technical drawings and renderings. Images must include photo credit information.
There is no fee to enter the competition.