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Sterling Johnson
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Phone: (919)707-4442


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

The N.C. Department of Transportation's Statewide Model Bridge Building Competition – designed to create a greater awareness of careers in transportation, construction, engineering and NCDOT services – gives students across North Carolina the opportunity to making the connection between what they learn in the classroom and real-world applications.

Student objectives include:

  • Encouraging active involvement in constructing and applying mathematical ideas
  • Stimulating effective questioning techniques that promote interaction
  • Providing a tool for visualizing structural behavior
  • Expanding problem-solving skills
  • Learning to work as a team
  • Applying research and presentation skills
  • Demonstrating practical application of math and science skills
  • Enhancing oral and written communication skills

Working in teams, students look at the methods of brainstorming and researching ideas, designing a diagram and building a model truss bridge.

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


The NCDOT Statewide Model Bridge Building Competition is open to middle and high school students in North Carolina. Registration begins each fall, and regional and final competitions happen in early spring.

School & Classroom Involvement

The competition encourages a team-based approach with teachers providing the technical advice necessary for students to create their bridge design. This competition is also a great opportunity for a civil engineer or transportation professional to visit the classroom to discuss a career-related topic of the teacher's choice.

The competition takes model bridge building to a higher level by requiring students In addition to researching and documenting their design, students present their project to a panel of judges. These extra judging requirements are included to attract the non-technical students who might leave with an appreciation for and an understanding of the technical fields.

Teachers can use the competition as a classroom project, select students within their schools to work on the project as a team or have several student teams compete in a school-wide competition with the winning team represent the school at the regional competition. NCDOT will accept only one model bridge entry per school.

Why Participate?

Through this competition, students will:

mbbc2 Thales Academy Middle School
  • 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 NCDOT 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
  • Give a presentation to the competition judges
  • Work collaboratively with their team

2017 Competition Details

  • Registration due: Dec. 9, 2016
  • Model bridge report and drawings due: March 1, 2017
  • Regional competitions: March 17, 2017
  • Final competition: April 28, 2017

Regional Competition Locations

  • Region 1 (middle/high school): Kinston – N.C. Global TransPark/Spirit Composite Center of Excellence, 3800 State Highway 58, Room 142
  • Region 2 (middle/high school): Raleigh – N.C. Department of Transportation, Transportation Building Auditorium, 1 S. Wilmington St.
  • Region 3 (middle/high school): Asheboro – Randolph Community College, Learning Resources Center Auditorium, Room 102, 629 Industrial Park Ave.
  • Region 4 (middle/high school): Morganton – Collett Recreation Center, 300 Collett St., Social Hall

2016 Competition Winners

Thales Academy Middle School
Thales Academy Middle School
Franklin Academy High School

Final Competitions

First Place:

  • Thales Academy Middle School, Rolesville
  • Franklin Academy High School, Wake Forest

Second Place

  • Middle School: Clarkton School of Discovery, Clarkton
  • High School: Polk County Early College High School, Columbus

Third Place

  • Middle School: Polk County Middle School, Mill Spring
  • High School: North Moore High School, Robbins

Fourth Place

  • Middle School: West Pine Middle School, West End
  • High School: Wilson Christian Academy, Wilson

Regional Winners

All regional competitors receive recognition for competing. One middle and high school team from each region advance to the State Final Competition. Each school is judged in four categories, including written report, oral presentation, design drawing and model efficiency.

Region One

  • Middle School – Clarkton School of Discovery of Clarkton
  • High School – Wilson Christian Academy of Wilson

Region Two

  • Middle School – Thales Academy of Rolesville
  • High School – Franklin Academy High School of Wake Forest

Region Three

  • Middle School – West Pine Middle School of West End
  • High School – North Moore High School of Robbins

Region Four

  • Middle School – Polk County Middle School of Mill Spring
  • High School – Polk County Early College of Columbus

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

NCDOT gives special thanks to the Carolina Associated General Contractors for sponsoring the bridge competition awards.

In partnership with the Carolinas' Associated General Contractors and the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina, NCDOT started the Statewide Model Bridge Building Competition in Spring 2000. Members from each of organization 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.