RTI partners with WVDOT for bridge design contest

3/28/16 / The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON - The Nick J. Rahall, II Appalachian Transportation Institute (RTI) works with industry, government and universities to advance multimodal transportation, research and technology solutions for economic growth and development.

RTI is recognized as a Center of Excellence in the areas of applied transportation research, economic development, technology development, workforce development and training, according to a news release from the organization.

Recently, RTI partnered with the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) to present the 2016 West Virginia Bridge Design and Build Contest.

The West Virginia Bridge Design and Build Contest is a statewide contest intended to conduct STEM-related outreach activities to middle school and high school students in the areas of engineering, specifically civil engineering. The contest provides opportunities for interaction and collaboration with professionals and others in STEM- related fields.

This contest aims to provide students with an opportunity to learn about the engineering design; process with realistic, hands-on experiences; demonstrate how engineers use computers and software as tools to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the design process; afford the opportunity for students to apply their problem solving and bridge design skills by constructing a bridge from balsa wood material.

Formerly the West Point Bridge Design Contest and the West Virginia Bridge Design Contest, this statewide contest is a localized version of the nationwide contest organized by Engineering Encounters, a nonprofit organization dedicated to high quality engineering outreach programs. Using Engineering Encounters' Bridge Designer software, students will compete in teams of two to create the most cost-effective and fully-functional bridge design.

The WV Statewide Qualifying Round runs from February 1, 2016 until April 1, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. The top ranked teams entered in the WV Statewide Contest will be invited to participate in the Statewide Finals to take place on May 21, 2016 at Marshall University in Huntington.

The contest primarily covers bridge design, but teams invited to the final round will also have the opportunity to develop their bridge building skills. Teams attending the statewide finals will be mailed a balsa wood kit to construct a bridge in advance of the finals.

At the finals, these model bridges will be evaluated by a panel of judges for aesthetics and creativity, then load-tested until failure to determine their strength.

Other supporters and sponsors of the 2016 West Virginia Bridge Design & Build Contest include BridgeWalk, MATS and Marshall University (CITE).

For more information about RTI and the 2016 West Virginia Bridge Design and Build Contest, visit http://www.njrati.org and http://wvbridgedesignandbuild.com.