CHARLESTON, WV – The West Virginia Division of Transportation is pleased to announce that the West Virginia Bridge Design and Build Contest will kick off its 2020 Competition on Saturday, January 11, at 11:00 a.m. at BridgeWalk in Fayetteville. Now in its 19th year, this STEM competition brings West Virginia Division of Highways engineers into middle and high school classrooms to teach students about engineering. Students compete using Engineering Encounters Bridge Design Software to design the lowest cost bridge. Finalists are invited to compete for cash prizes at Marshall University in April, and all students who enter receive a free BridgeWalk tour.
The official start of the qualifying round is Monday, January 13. Contest software, information, and an instructional video by West Virginia Division of Highways Deputy Commissioner, Jimmy Wriston, P.E., is available on the website at www.wvbridgedesignandbuildcontest.com.
Participation in this STEM competition is completely free to students and schools. Interested teachers can request a classroom visit on the website. West Virginia Division of Highways engineers and college student volunteers from across the state visit the classrooms to introduce students to engineering. Students advancing to the finals will compete for cash prizes in both the design and a balsa bridge build category. At the final competition, students will be treated to demonstrations by college-level engineering students from universities around the state. Students who enter the contest are also invited on a complementary tour of the breathtaking New River Gorge Bridge catwalk, a West Virginia treasure which has been visited by tourists from around the world. All students who submit designs in the contest receive this free BridgeWalk tour, even if they do not advance to the final competition.
This year, updates to the software were completed in-house by some of the same West Virginia Division of Highways software designers who compiled the road projects statewide interactive map available at www.transportation.wv.gov. The contest software update team members were Dustin Feazell, Marshall Burgess, Josh Sizemore and Reshma Joy.