SE Bridge Competition 2009

Ste. Genevieve, Oak Ridge and Chaffee High Schools Take Top Three in Bridge Competition

SIKESTON-After more than 225 bridges were tested, Zack Fallert of Ste. Genevieve High School stood victorious in MoDOT's sixth annual Bridge Building Competition for high school juniors and seniors. The competition sought to test the students' engineering skills as they designed and constructed the most efficient model bridge, the lightest bridge to carry the greatest load-Fallert's bridge proved to do just that.

With cash and other prizes at stake, other Ste. Genevieve High School students' bridges followed Fallert's lead. In addition to winning first place, Ste. Genevieve High School also had bridges that came in second through ninth places as well. Oak Ridge High School had a student that placed tenth.

Other awards included the "most aesthetic" bridge, given to Clayton Cox of Ste. Genevieve; and the computer-based electronic bridge award, given to Alec Smith of Oak Ridge High School. Individual prizes were donated by: Three Rivers Community College, the Southeast Missouri State's Physics & Engineering Club, CS Printing, Sonic, McDonald's, Best Buy, and the Southeast Coalition for Roadway.

In addition to the individual prizes, other prizes were awarded for the schools that competed the best overall-with $1,000 in prize money donated by Sen. Jason Crowell. Ste. Genevieve High School's teacher Anthony Eubanks accepted a trophy and a $500 check for first place; Oak Ridge High School's teacher Mark Gihring accepted a $300 check for placing second; and Chaffee High School's teacher Jaron McMurry accepted a $200 check for coming in third. In addition to the cash prizes, Representative Jo Ann Emerson also donated two flags (that were flown over the U.S. Capitol Building) to the top two schools.

"We've had so many teachers really get involved in the competition and use it as a way to teach elements of engineering to their students and really educate them about the design process, that we wanted a way to reward the schools for their efforts in promoting civil engineering," said Traffic Engineer Craig Compas. "We're appreciative that Sen. Crowell's and Rep. Emerson's generosity made that possible."

In addition to all the cash prizes and awards, MoDOT also partnered with Arkansas State University, Southeast Missouri State University, Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla), University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou), and Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, to offer seniors interested in civil engineering up to $10,000 worth of civil engineering scholarships.

"We really want to foster an interest in civil engineering with the competition," said Senior Highway Designer Anita Clark. "The event started as a way to get students in Southeast Missouri interested in engineering, help them with their education, and hopefully have them working in the field someday-possibly even with MoDOT. That opportunity wouldn't be possible without the generous donations of the businesses and organizations that help us make it happen each year-and to them, we are extremely grateful."

During the competition, lunch was provided to all participating students. Lunch sponsors, and other supply sponsors included: Wehrenberg Theatres of Cape Girardeau, CiCi's Pizza, Rhodes of Cape Girardeau, Coca-Cola, Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, and Hobby Lobby.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Southeast Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety was also on-hand with the Seat Belt Convincer (a ride that simulates how it feels to be in a 5-MPH traffic crash) during the competition, hoping to impact the high school students with the importance of buckling-up.

For more information, contact Compas, Clark or MoDOT's Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636).