Bridge Competition

MoDOT Tests Bridges, Names Winners of the 20th Annual Bridge Building Competition

Ste. Genevieve, Chaffee & Hartville High Schools Take ‘Top Three’

After weeks of work to build the most efficient model bridges, Southeast Missouri high school students put their bridges to the test today (Nov. 15) at the completion of MoDOT’s 20th Annual Bridge Building Competition. The competition challenges high school juniors and seniors to design and construct the most efficient model bridge using limited materials—balsa wood, thread and glue.

Ste. Genevieve, Chaffee and Hartville High Schools received first, second and third place for best overall performance, respectively. These schools received cash prizes.

In addition, students were recognized for building the lightest bridges that carried the greatest loads. Winners included:

  • 1st – Hope Schmelzle – Ste. Genevieve
  • 2nd – Vinil Bhagha – Ste. Genevieve
  • 3rd – Josh Horrell – Leopold
  • 4th – Ayne Held – Chaffee
  • 5th – Myra Roth – Saxony Lutheran

Other awards included the most aesthetic bridge presented to Ayne Held of Chaffee High School and the computer-based electronic bridge award presented to Houston Lafferty of Leopold High School.


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20th Annual Bridge Building Competition

Prize donations have been made possible by the following businesses and organizations: SE Chapter Transportation Employee Association of Missouri, Southeast Coalition for Roadway Safety, Bacon Farmer Workman Engineering & Testing, Cape Girardeau Noon Optimist, SE Chapter of Missouri Society of Professional Engineers, and Three Rivers College.

MoDOT also partnered with Arkansas State University, University of Missouri-Columbia, Southeast Missouri State University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, and Southern Illinois University to offer seniors interested in civil engineering up to $10,000 in scholarships.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Southeast Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety were on hand during the competition to discuss the importance of buckling-up.

For more information, please contact Senior Highway Designer Anita Clark ( or Senior Highway Designer Gretchen Hanks ( at (573) 472-5294.