DOINews: Reclamation: Bridges Buckle at 48th Annual Colorado High School Bridge Building Competition

Last edited 09/05/2019

Photos of students taking part in a small-scale bridge-building competition.
Bridges snap, crackle and pop at the 48th Colorado High School Bridge Building Contest. Photos by Reclamation.

High school students from across Colorado joined the Bureau of Reclamation to test homemade, small-scale bridges for the 48th Annual Colorado High School Bridge Building Competition in Denver. Winners took home scholarships and the opportunity to represent Colorado at the International Bridge Building Competition in Portland, Ore.

Every year, students from across the state gather at the Bureau of Reclamation's Materials Engineering and Research Laboratory to test out their homemade, small-scale bridges. These bridges, made of only a few, basic materials, are then tested to determine how much weight they can support. The winning models are determined by the structural efficiency ratio, or the amount of weight the bridge can hold divided by the weight of the bridge. The winning bridges have the highest structural efficiency ratios.

The state is split into two regions: northern (Region One) and southern (Region Two). The first and second place winners from each region are invited to compete at the International Bridge Building Contest, where prizes have included college scholarships. Winners from this year's competition were awarded college scholarships to go toward science and engineering education.

The High School Bridge Building Competition aims to encourage participation in the fields of science, math, engineering and technology. In addition to the competition, attendees and their families will explore Reclamation's laboratories and facilities with professional engineers, getting a chance to see research and science in action. Students can visit the humidity room, where working models of structures and dam construction materials are cured for optimum strength and will witness a 2,000 pound concrete cylinder crushed by a machine capable of 5 million pounds of compression.

Reclamation, the National Society of Professional Engineers of Colorado and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado sponsor the competition.

By: Bureau of Reclamation

March 26, 2015

Related Link:

Bureau of Reclamation-Youth

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