The International Bridge Conference (IBC) Executive Committee has selected Dr. Todd Helwig to receive the 2023 George S. Richardson Medal.  This award is given annually for a single, recent outstanding achievement in bridge engineering.  The selected achievement may consist of design, construction, research, or education. 

In the 37 years the award has been given, this is only the 4th that the award has been given for a research achievement as opposed to major achievements in the design of signature bridges. The IBC is sponsored by the nonprofit organization Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania.

Per the committee, Dr. Helwig was select for “contributions to steel bridge bracing science and associated improvements to design, analysis, and construction practices,” which he has been researching for the past 3 decades. 

The award recognizes his most recent research study on Proposed Modifications to AASHTO Cross-frame Analysis and Design (NCHRP Research Study 12-113). Dr. Helwig and his team studied field monitoring and testing of existing bridges, resulting in one of the most comprehensive parametric studies that has ever been conducted, consisting of parametric analyses on over 4000 steel bridge systems to understand the effect of bridge geometry on the fundamental behavior of cross-frame systems. 

Dr. Helwig attributed much of the work to his team of esteemed colleagues: “I’d like to acknowledge the very significant contributions of the extremely talented research team consisting of three PhD students (Matthew Reichenbach PhD-2020, Joshua White PhD-2020, and Sunghyun Park PhD-2021) and two MS students (Esteban Zecchin MS-2019, PhD-2023 and Matthew Moore MS-2018), and co-PI Professor Michael Engelhardt. The impact from the work of the research team was truly impressive with major impacts on the AASHTO Design Specifications.”

This work produced design provisions that have been balloted and approved for inclusion in the next edition for AASHTO (due in 2024) that includes: 1) New load factors for evaluating cross-frame fatigue, 2) Guidelines on computer models for bridge analysis, 3) Factors accounting for eccentric connections in single angle and WT members, 4) Guidelines for truck placement and loading criteria for evaluating fatigue in cross-frames, and 5) an entirely new section to AASHTO for stability bracing. 

Dr. Helwig will be presented with the award at the IBC’s annual banquet in June.