SIKESTON—After weeks of work to build the most efficient model bridges, Southeast Missouri high school students put their bridges to the test today (Dec. 9) at the completion of MoDOT’s 18th Annual Bridge Building Competition. The competition challenges high school juniors and seniors to design and construct the most efficient model bridge using limited materials—15 pieces of balsa wood, thread and glue.

Oak Ridge High School, Chaffee High School and Perryville Area Career and Technology Center received first, second and third place for best overall performance, respectively. These schools received cash prizes donated by the SE Chapter Transportation Employee Association of Missouri.

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

1st – Jiliyan Hobeck – Oak Ridge
2nd – Abby Cowell – Chaffee
3rd – Erin Urhahn – Oak Ridge
4th – Holden Johnston – Oak Ridge
5th – Carson Gihring – homeschooled from Oak Ridge

Prize donations and supply sponsorships have been made possible by the following businesses and organizations: SE Chapter Transportation Employee Association of Missouri, Three Rivers College and the Southeast Coalition for Roadway Safety.

MoDOT also partnered with Arkansas State University, 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.

Since this year’s competition was held virtually, the Southeast Coalition for Roadway Safety partnered with the Bridge Building Competition team to offer participating high school students a chance to win prizes by taking the Buckle Up Phone Down challenge. To learn more about the BUPD challenge, please visit

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


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