The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials held its 15thAnnualTRAC Bridge Challengecompetition at its Spring Meeting in Portland, Maine. A record high 18 teams competed this year. They were selected from more than 250 teams that applied from across the country. Each applicant was a member of one of AASHTO’s educational outreach programsTRAC™ (Transportation and Civil Engineering)which is designed for high school students andRIDES (Roadways In Developing Elementary Students).
“AASHTO and its industry partners understand that if America is going to stay competitive more young people must get involved in engineering,” said Linda Clifton AASHTO TRAC and RIDES manager. “The TRAC and RIDES programs and this annual competition are both incentives and opportunities for students to learn about the transportation industry and apply the math and science skills they learn in the classroom—out here in the real world.”
Using balsa wood, glue and string, teams compete by building miniature bridges that are tested for strength and design. The teams also make detailed presentations about their bridges before a panel of judges.
The 2017 Annual TRAC Bridge Challenge winners are as follows:
· 11thand 12thgrade division: first place, Negaunee High School, Negaunee, Michigan; second place, Moss Point Career and Tech, Moss Point, Mississippi; and third place, Annapolis High School Annapolis, Michigan.
· 9thand 10thgrade division: first place, Kat Homeschoolers, Portage, Michigan; second place, Northville High School, Northville, Michigan; and third place, Brandon High School from Ortonville, Michigan.
· 7thand 8thgrade division: first place, Meads Mill Middle School, Northville, Michigan; second place, Da Vinci Academy in Davis California; and third place, Portage Central Middle School, Portage, Michigan.
This year’s competition was sponsored by Bentley Systems, Michael Baker International, PECG, HDR, HNTB, IRD, Transystems, NCSPA, ADS, Volkert, Cambridge Systematics, Transpo Industries and Housman and Associates. Schools participate in the TRAC and RIDES programs through a partnership with their state department of transportation. Visit the TRAC and Rides website:http://trac.transportation.org/Pages/default.aspxto learn more about the competition and how to bring these valuable programs to your school.