2018 Competition Guide


Welcome & Introduction

Rules & Clarifications

Scoring Spreadsheet

General Competition Information

Design Tips

Eligibility Requirements
Paper Competition
Business Meeting

Judges Training Meeting

Team Captain Meeting

Display Judging

Site Layout



Post Construction

Lateral Load Test

Vertical Load Tests
- Loading Devices
- Deflection Measurement
- Sway Measurement

Bridge Weight

Data Entry

History & Results


Site Layout

Host Equipment/Preparation:

  • Room for
    • Staging bridges awaiting erection
    • Sufficient erection lanes to accommodate entries
    • Sufficient loading stations
    • A location for weighing the bridges
    • A location for spreadsheet data entry
    • A place for spectators
  • Long measuring tape(s)
  • Short measuring tape(s)
  • Duct tape or something similar-lots of it!
  • String line
  • A means for cordoning off the erection and loading areas


Note that the layout of the construction site may change from year to year. The following instructions are intended to be general enough to handle the various configurations that have been and will be used over the years. Some elements such as skew, floodways, environmentally sensitive areas, rivers, etc. may not appear in some years.

The competition construction site should be accessible for delivery of materials and should be relatively level. Paved areas, such as floors and parking lots, work well. A smooth and level ground surface is needed at the location where bridges are constructed and dimensions are checked since clearances are measured from the ground. Load testing requires rigid (i.e. Portland cement concrete if possible) pavement that is level and smooth. If rigid pavement is not accessible, provision must be made to prevent bridges from sinking into the supporting surface during load testing.

Depending on the schedule and the number of competitors, it may be necessary to provide several construction areas and/or several load testing areas so that several bridges may compete simultaneously. Depending on the deflection measurement methods, the load testing area tends to be the slowest station in the sequence so it is advisable to have more load stations than construction areas if there are more than five or six bridges in the competition.

Spectators should have visual access to the competition. However, the bridge construction and load testing areas should be cordoned to keep spectators at a safe distance and to prevent interference with competitors and judges.

The river, floodway, environmentally sensitive areas, islands, docks, footings, site boundaries, staging yards and other site features as specified in the current rules may be marked with chalk, paint, tape, ribbon or any other material that is durable enough to last through the competition. See Figure 1 for an example of a well laid out site.

Figure #1: Typical Site Layout

River and parkway boundaries should be accurately spaced and parallel, and the skew, footings, docks, moorages and other features that may be required by the current rules should be carefully measured and placed. It is generally a good idea to place tape, paint or other boundary indicators so that stepping on the marker is a violation. This make life much easier for all concerned during the erection sequence. Creating a CAD file showing diagonal dimensions and tape locations is very helpful. 

2018 Taping Plan Drawings:

LAYING OUT THE SITE TAKES LOTS OF TIME. You should plan to have the site ready well before the beginning of the competition.

Space will be needed to display and store completed bridges while they wait for their turn in the loading station.

It is a good idea to draw the overall site plan (erection area, load area, weighing area, storage area, spectator access, etc...) to scale when choosing a site to ensure that there is adequate room for all parts of the competition. The attached taping plan drawing can be imported into a CAD file to ensure that adequate space is available.

Outdoor sites should plan on having access to lighting in case the competition goes longer than expected and the loading must continue in the dark.