During two decades as an engineering educator, Dr. Ressler often served as the Faculty Advisor for civil engineering students’ senior projects. Of these many projects, none inspired more enthusiasm than the two described below. In each case, the project involved the design and construction of a pedestrian bridge for the West Point community. And in each case, well, there’s just something about a bridge…
Timber Arch Bridge at the West Point Youth Activities Center
During Academic Year 2003-2004, Cadets Dave Fraser and Seth Chappell designed and built this beautiful arched bridge over a small stream near the West Point Youth Activities Center. The client was the West Point Directorate of Community and Family Activities. Dave and Seth were senior civil engineering majors from the Class of 2004. Both were subsequently commissioned as officers in the Army Corps of Engineers. As Faculty Advisor, Steve Ressler oversaw the project, mentored the cadets, and checked all of their design calculations and drawings. In addition to a challenging structural design, the engineering work included a foundation design and a hydrologic analysis of the watershed to determine the maximum expected depth of the stream flow. The structure used two custom-fabricated glue-laminated beams of Southern Yellow Pine. The project was highly successful, and the bridge remains in use today.
Postscript: On November 26, 2006, Captain Dave Fraser was killed in action while leading a route clearance patrol in Baghdad, Iraq. He was a magnificent young man who is sorely missed by all who knew him. Rest in peace, Dave. Your bridge stands as a memorial to your creativity, resourcefulness, and indomitable spirit.
Tied-Arch Bridge at the West Point Middle School
During Academic Year 2006-2006, Cadets Chris Blackburn and Tyler Scheidt designed and built this superb tied-arch span connecting the West Point Middle School to a nearby residential area. The structure, built in support of the West Point Directorate of Public Works, replaced an older pedestrian bridge that had become unserviceable. Chris and Tyler were civil engineering majors from the Class of 2006. Both were subsequently commissioned as officers in the Army Corps of Engineers.
The structural system of this bridge consists of a pair of dramatically curved glue-laminated wooden arches, supported by steel tie-bars. The wooden deck is suspended from the arch by steel suspender rods. This project, too, was highly successful; and the bridge continues to serve the West Point Community today.