MoDOT's 14th Annual Bridge Building Competition winners

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Over the past few weeks, high school students across southeast Missouri have built model bridges in anticipation for the Missouri Department of Transportation's 14th Annual Bridge Building Competition.

MoDOT is testing bridges entered on Nov. 16 at Rose Theater on Southeast Missouri State University's campus.

Ste. Genevieve, Oak Ridge and Chaffee High Schools received first, second and third place for best overall performance, respectively. These schools received cash prizes donated by the SE Chapter Transportation Employee Association of Missouri.

In addition, five students were recognized for building the lightest bridges that carried the greatest loads.

Winners included:

1st – Jacob Thomure – Ste. Genevieve

2nd – Taylor Bolin – Oak Ridge

3rd – Jordan Weibrecht – Ste. Genevieve

4th – Conner Bock – Oak Ridge

5th – Trenton Gramlisch – Chaffee

Other awards included the most aesthetic bridge presented to Morgan Merrill of Sikeston High School and the computer-based electronic bridge award presented to Fadel Alkilani of Sikeston High School.

Prize donations and supply sponsorships have been made possible by the following organizations: SE Chapter Transportation Employee Association of Missouri, Southeast Missouri State University, Three Rivers Community College, Cape Area Engineers Club, Southeast Physics & Engineering Club, Southeast Chapter of the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers and the Southeast Coalition for Roadway Safety.

MoDOT also partnered with Arkansas State University, Southeast Missouri State University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, University of Missouri-Columbia and Southern Illinois University to offer seniors interested in civil engineering up to $10,000 in scholarships.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Southeast Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety attended the competition to discuss the importance of buckling-up with the Seat Belt Convincer, which simulates how it feels to be in a traffic crash.

Asked if  MODOT competition has led to any students being inspired to become engineers, District Traffic Engineer Craig Compas said many have.

"Once they get into it and get to liking it and put the glue together and start putting members together and get to enjoy it and realize it's something I might want to do, Compass said. "Talked to kids that, with this competition as inspiration, go into engineering. Actually, we've hired some kids that graduated, that went through this competition, that graduated from college and come work for us."

High school juniors and seniors were challenged to design and built an efficient model bridge using limited materials: 15 pieces of balsa wood, thread, and glue.

Prizes donated by various organizations will be given to students who rank in several categories.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Southeast Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety will be present to discuss the importance of buckling-up with the Seat Belt Convincer, which simulates how it feels to be in a traffic crash.

Additional information can be found at here.

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