Holmescoming - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Holmescoming

(HawaiiNewsNow) - The Engineers without Borders - UH Chapter was established in 2007. It is a non-profit registered student organization at the University of Hawai'i and operates solely on a volunteer basis.

The mission of the EWB UH Student Chapter is to engage students to assist disadvantaged communities in our Hawaiian Islands and around the world by improving the quality of life through the design and implementation of environmentally sustainable and economically sound engineering projects, while creating transformative experiences and fostering responsible leadership. As tomorrow's global leaders, we have committed to doing our part in building a better world by stabilizing the infrastructure of a community in a developing country.

Last year, the EWB UH Student Chapter received approval from EWB-USA to reconstruct a vehicular bridge, across the La Pita River in Matagalpa District. This is the only access, which connects the coffee farming community of La Pita to markets, schools, and medical facilities in San Ramon, two miles away. The design phase has been completed and consist of constructing two new abutments and a steel multi-girder spanning 30 feet across the river.

The project began in 2008 when EWB-UH Student Chapter students traveled to La Pita to survey the community and discovered an old bridge built in the 1930s that was in disuse. The design team determined it was safer to abandon the existing abutments and construct new ones, thus lengthening the span, but ensuring that scour will be less of a problem in the future. This design involves concrete abutments and a single length span of a steel truss. Hydraulic calculations were done, and geologic and seismic conditions were also evaluated.

The local community will supply free general labor for the project and assist with local coordination and logistics. The district mayor and villagers are excited about this project and have given their full-fledged support, which is vital for the smooth execution of the construction. The EWB students are undertaking this project on their own time, applying engineering principles they have learned in their undergraduate curriculum. The only cost is that of materials, steel fabrication and erection, and any specialty labor. This international project is proving to be a formidable task - coordination of local labor and materials in a foreign country and the construction of and fundraising for the bridge.

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