Important News and Information
Competition Guidelines
Sequence of Events
  • Registration Deadline:Friday, Nov. 20, 2015
  • Reports and Drawings Due for Regionals:Tuesday, March 1, 2016
    Submit one PDF file of your original written report and design drawings for the report. Send to Gail Herring by 4 p.m. No late reports will be accepted.
  • Regional Competitions:* 9 a.m. until around noon Friday, March 11, 2016 (View map for regional competition locations.)
  • Reports and Drawings Due for Finals: Wednesday, April 6, 2016
    Whether or not a team chooses to change or update its report and drawings from the regional competition, one PDF file of the written report and design drawings for the report are due. No late reports will be accepted.
  • Final Competition:* 9 a.m. Friday, April 15, 2016 in Raleigh
    * Competitions: Due to space limitations at competition facilities, please notify Gail Herring if your group, including students, teachers and chaperones, is larger than 20 people.
First Place (high school) – Franklin Academy, Wake Forest

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.

First Place (middle school) – Polk County Middle School, Mill Spring

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.


Team Presentation

Determining load carrying score
  • 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.
Testing model bridge


Anticipating a collapsing model bridge

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.

How to Register

Register for the competition

Click to Register Online

Registrations will be accepted until Friday, Nov. 20, 2015.
You may register using the online registration form or by phone or fax:

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

Competition Awards

Previous Competition Results

Regional Competitions – TBA

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:

Prize monies are provided by the Carolinas’ Associated General Contractors.

Final Competitions – TBA

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

Acknowledgment: The North Carolina Department of Transportation gives a special thank you to the Carolina Associated General Contractors for sponsoring the bridge competition awards.

NCDOT began the NCDOT Statewide Model Bridge Building Competition in the spring of 2000, along with our Industry Partners, the Carolinas’ Associated General Contractors and the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina. Members from each of the organizations serve as judges at each of the regional and final competitions. NCDOT thanks the Carolinas’ Associated General Contractors and the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina for their continued support of the Statewide Model Bridge Building Competition.

Contact Information

For Further Registration Information Contact:

Gail Herring- Program Coordinator
NCDOT – HR/Talent Management
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.