Winners for the USF-SE Bridge Building Competition

The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) was pleased to once again partner with the University of South Florida (USF) College of Engineering and the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers to sponsor the USF-SE Bridge Building Competition at the University of South Florida’s annual Engineering Expo on February 17th.
The Engineering Expo seeks to educate K-12 students on the importance of math, science, engineering, and technology (STEM) within their lives through interactive displays and projects.

A highlight of the Expo every year is the USF-SE Bridge Building Competition, where middle and high school students from Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas County schools to design and build the bridges from balsa wood and then compete to see which bridge can withstand the most weight before collapsing.

More than 56 teams competed or showed up for the event. Each team was comprised of three kids and competed against other teams in their age range to build their bridge. The bridges were each tested against a strength machine which kept adding weight until the bridge broke. The winners were:

Middle School Category and Pounds of Pressure Withstood:

1st Place: 1st Cambridge Christian School – 400
2nd Place: Terrace Community Middle School – 310
3rd Place: Braden river middle school – 284

High School Category and Pounds of Pressure Withstood:

 1st Place: Newsome High School – 271
2nd Place: Middleton HS “Over the top Bridgesters” 168 lbs
3rd Place: Middleton HS “Tenacious Tigers” 135 lbs

A separate award, the Efficiency Award, was presented to the team whose bridge withstood the highest amount of pressure relative to the bridge’s total weight.

Efficiency Award: Cambridge Christian School

The USF-SE Bridge Building Competition began in the 1980’s as a student-run project to connect the University to under-represented middle and high school students and provide a fun, extra-educational enrichment opportunity in STEM philosophies.

Through our partnership with USF, THEA aims to provide opportunities for mentorship and education to Bay Area students in the STEM disciplines. Winners of the USF-SE Bridge Building Competition are eligible to receive a Selmon STEM Scholarship upon high school graduation.

The USF-SE Bridge Building Competition is one of our favorite events of the year. It provides us the opportunity to show young people the value of teamwork, planning, and creativity through a fun, hands-on experience and shows off the fun side of engineering.

We thank all the students for participating and congratulate them on their excellent work. We’re already looking forward to next year’s competition!