Important News and Information
Competition Guidelines
Sequence of Events
  • Registration deadline.Friday, November 15, 2013
  • Reports and Drawings Due for Regionals.Wednesday, February 19, 2014
    Submit one PDF file of your original written report and design drawings for the report; it should be emailed to by 10 a.m. No late reports will be accepted.
  • * Regional Competitions will begin at 9am.Friday, March 7, 2014
    See map for Regional Competition locations
  • Reports and Drawings Due for Finals. Tuesday, April 1, 2014
    Whether or not a team chooses to change or update their report and drawings from the regional competition, one PDF file of your written report and design drawings for the report are due on this date. No late reports will be accepted.
  • * Final Competition will be held in Raleigh beginning at 9 am. Friday, April 11, 2014
    * Competitions: Due to space limitations at the facilities where the competitions are held, please notify Ms. Gail Herring with the NCDOT if your group, including students, teachers and chaperones, is larger than 20 people.
Bridge Competition

Bridges are essential to our nation's infrastructure. How would you span a freeway, a deep canyon gorge, a river or an ocean waterway?

We invite middle and high school teachers in North Carolina to participate in the North Carolina Department of Transportation Statewide Model Bridge Building Competition. The competition is designed to create a greater awareness of careers in transportation, construction, engineering and the services provided by the NCDOT.

Contestant with engineer inspecting a model bridge.

The NCDOT Statewide Model Bridge Building Competition gives students an opportunity to learn problem-solving strategies and utilize critical thinking skills, while making the connection between what is taught in the classroom and real world applications. Working in teams, students will look at the methods of brainstorming ideas, designing a diagram, constructing the model and will have the satisfaction of presenting the results of their ideas to a panel of judges. This competition is a collaborative effort between NCDOT, students and teachers who will work together to exchange ideas and build cooperation.

This competition is about more than building a bridge. It's about education, communication, careers and service to the public. We believe students will best experience tomorrow's career opportunities by working with industry professionals to apply technical applications to today's problems.


Kids presenting their model bridges.

Engineer testing strength of a model bridge.
  • Encourage active involvement of students in constructing and applying mathematical ideas.
  • Stimulate effective questioning techniques that promote interaction.
  • Provide a tool for visualizing structural behavior.
  • Expand problem solving skills.
  • Learn how to work as a team.
  • Apply research and presentation skills.
  • Demonstrate practical application of math and science skills.
  • Enhance the student's oral and written communication skills.
Engineer determining breaking point of a model bridge.


Middle and high school students attending competition.

Who May Participate?

The NCDOT Statewide Model Bridge Building Competition is open to middle and high school students in North Carolina only.


We recognize the continuous need to excite students about education, particularly in the areas of math and science. What better way to learn than to turn on the competitiveness that is inherent in all of us? This engaging competition consists of the research, design and construction of a model truss bridge.

Teachers may choose to use this competition as a classroom project or select various students within the school to work on the project as a team. Another possibility is to develop several teams to compete in a school-wide competition and select one overall team who will go on to represent the school at the regional competition. However, we will only accept one model bridge entry per school.

The competition encourages a team-based approach with classroom teachers as facilitators, providing the technical advice necessary for students to create their bridge design. Also, this project is a great opportunity for a civil engineer or transportation professional to visit your classroom to discuss a career related topic of your choice.

The NCDOT Statewide Model Bridge Building Competition takes model bridge building to a higher level by requiring students to research and document their design and to orally present their project to a panel of judges. These extra judging requirements are included to attract the non-technical students who may leave with an appreciation for and an understanding of the technical fields.

Through This Competition Students Will:

  • Expand their vocabulary of geometry, bridges and construction.
  • Apply bridge vocabulary in the completion of a paper on the history and reasoning of bridge construction.
  • Practice Design interpretation by building a bridge, to meet specific criteria, based upon our guidelines.
  • Inspect their bridge through logical reasoning to determine if their bridge model will meet the criteria pertinent to the project.
  • Test their bridge to determine if the bridge meets the criteria of the guidelines.
  • Develop marketing and presentation skills for selling their bridge design to the public.
  • Make an oral presentation to the competition judges.
  • Work collaboratively with their team.
Contestant's model bridge on display.
Contestant's model bridge on display.

How to Register

Register for the competition

Click to Register Online

Registrations will be accepted through Friday, November 15, 2013 .
You may register by completing and submitting the registration form below, via telephone or fax to the person listed below.

  • Phone: (919) 707-4442
  • Fax: (919) 715-3469

Competition Awards

Previous Competition Results

Regional Competitions – Friday, March 7, 2014

All regional competitors will receive recognition for competing. One middle and high school team from each region will advance to the State Final Competition. Each school will be judged in four categories, including written report, oral presentation, design drawing and model efficiency. The regional competition scores are as follows:

Kids displaying competition awards
Kids displaying competition awards.

Final Competitions – Friday, April 11, 2014

Please continue to monitor this website for updates and details on the competition.

Contact Information

For Further Registration Information Contact:

Gail Herring- Program Coordinator
NCDOT – HR/Career Services
1517 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1517
Phone: (919) 707-4442
Fax: (919) 715-3469
Email: Contact Us

For more model bridge building information, check out PBS's Building Big Bridges site.