Building a bridge out of crates sounds like a fun activity for during the weekend, but that is far from the truth. The project is a challenging experience for the organizing students, that allows them to apply their knowledge on construction stability, design, planning and project management on a real project. For (prospective) students and youngsters from Twente the crate bridge can function as an inspiration for them to chose for a technical study themselves or to try out similar extra-curricular activities for themselves.

The title for building the crate bridge with the longest span has been a friendly battle between students from Delft, Eindhoven and Enschede over the past decade. The past records have been achieved by using thousands of crates and in our attempt in Enschede we will use over 12,000 crates. The upcoming attempt will take place on Saturday the 12th of March during the ‘Campus Experience’ on the campus of the University of Twente!

Who is going to construct the bridge?

The construction of the cratebridge is a complicated process, as the planning is a real puzzle. Once solved the construction process will be carried out with the help of a construction team of over 50 students from both the Bachelor Civil Engineering and the Master Civil Engineering and Management. During this process students from different ages, nationalities and background are offered the chance to cooperate and get to know each other better after two years of limited social contact. This diverse group of students will carry out the construction according to the design that is described here.

After weeks of intensive construction the scaffolds will be lowered so that the bridge has to support its own weight. At 3:00 pm (15:00h) the bridge will have to stay in place for one hour during the so called record attempt. The record will be checked by controlling students and graduates from Delft and Eindhoven, so that they can verify that the bridge was made according to rules. After they measure the official length of the bridge and the bridge holds it’s own weight for an hour the record attempt can be approved and the record will return to Enschede.

What are the preparations?

For two years a committee of eleven hard-working students from study association ConcepT, called CraTeX, have worked towards realising this dream. The preparations have been finished by 2022 as the bridge design has been made, a construction site layout had been made and a varied group of sponsors has been contacted. Different parties will provide us with material deliveries during this period for which a logistical planning has been worked out. From the 24th of February the construction site will be set up, so that construction can take place until the 12th of March.

Where can I find the bridge?

Our bridge will be build on the campus of the University of Twente in Enschede. The field on which the bridge is build is situated on the middle of the campus between the Hems boulevard and the Bastille and Vrijhof buildings. This can be reached when taking the second turn on the roundabout at the central campus entrance near the Spiegel building and following the Drienerlolaan until its end.

Why crates?

Crates are originally designed to make the transport and storage of glasses easier. In storage crates are often stacked in towers or piles,, meaning that they are able to bear a significant load. Therefore crates are also perfectly able to be used for the construction of this bridge. Currently the construction sector is facing a large challenge in trying to accomplish circular construction. As we face a future in which we might run out of natural resources, meaning that innovative ways of construction and use of construction material is needed. Of course crates are not the future for the construction industry, yet the bridge can serve to offer as a low-threshold example of a circular construction. After the bridge is disassembled, the crates will return in use at Grolsch.