SEATTLE - In Red Square on the University of Washington campus,49 engineering schools from across the U.S. are displaying large model steel bridges on the eve of a competition to build the strongest steel bridge out of models nearly 20-feet long.

The 49 schools include more than 600 students and come from as far away as Puerto Rico and Massachusetts.

The competition calls for bridge spans of about 13-feet wide crossing a 10-foot-wide river and a separate cantilevered section extending about three feet to one side. The span must hold 1,500 pounds and the cantilever another 1,000 pounds for a total weight of 2,500 pounds.

The winner will show the least amount of sag or deflection under that weight. Credit will be given for the lightest weight bridge with the thinnest members able to hold up more than a ton with the least amount of give. Credit is also given for how quickly the bridges are set up as well as aesthetics.

Competition is held Saturday from 10am till 3 in the Hec Ed Pavilion on the U.W. campus.

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