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USAFA cadets team with Forest Service to build bridge

Footbridge

A group of cadets from the U.S. Air Force Academy and engineers with the White River National Forest install bracing beams while building a bridge near Breckenridge, Colo., July 2018. In all, 13 cadets and one lieutenant, who graduated from the Academy earlier this year, worked with the Forest Service. The cadets, all civil engineering or mechanical engineering majors, get class credits for their efforts. A ceremony is scheduled for noon, August 2. (Courtesy photo by Dr. Stan Rader)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --

Cadets from the Air Force Academy and engineers with the White River National Forest plan to unveil a footbridge they’ve been building near Breckenridge August 2.

Last summer, the team started working on a design for a 35-foot wooden bridge to take pedestrians over a stream near the McCullough Gulch Trail southwest of Breckenridge.

“The bridge the cadets designed and constructed replaces a temporary bridge that would not allow the passage of first-responder all-terrain vehicles,” said Dr. Stan Rader, a civil engineer professor at the Academy. “The cadets significantly improved the ability of back country personnel to respond to future emergencies.”

Some construction costs were paid for by a private organization and expenses were also cut by the cadets’ free volunteer work.

In all, 13 cadets and one lieutenant, who graduated from the Academy earlier this year, worked with the Forest Service. The cadets, all civil engineering or mechanical engineering majors, get class credits for their efforts.

“This project is very unique as it provides an opportunity to extend classwork into an actual construction project,” said Cadet 1st Class Ryan Howe. “It’s very rare to have a project that is as ‘hands on’ as this one, especially one designed by the cadets in the classroom.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for noon, August 2.