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Released On: February 24, 2007

Bridges Hold More Than Their Own Weight
All the bridges have been broken, the dust has settled, and the winners have emerged at the 40th Annual Colorado High School Bridge Building Contest. In all, 46 high school students from around the State of Colorado had their bridges tested in today's event held at the Bureau of Reclamation's laboratory in Denver. In Region 1, Rebecca Travers, a student at Center Academy in Lakewood, won when her 22.51 gram basswood bridge held 139.343 kilograms. That is more than 6190 times its own weight.

Other students who placed in Region 1 are: Second, Taylor DiTallo of Ponderosa High School; Third, Kenneth Feehs of Arapahoe High School; Fourth, Melanie Auger of Ponderosa High School; and Fifth, Kyle Parag of Ponderosa High School.

In Region 2, Gavin Griffith, a student at Rifle High School in Rifle, won when his 24.71 gram basswood bridge held 147.907 kilograms. That is more then 5985 times its own weight.

Other students who placed in Region 2 are: Second, Michael Campbell of Rifle High School; Third, Tyler Sobieck of Coronado High School; Fourth, Cameron Misegadis of Coronado High School; and Fifth, Ryan Pelton of Cheyenne Mountain High School.

In the team competition from Region 1, Ponderosa High School in Parker finished first with their three bridges holding more then 11,200 times their own weight. Other teams from Region 1 are: Second, Arapahoe High School; Third, Center Academy; Fourth, Denver School of Technology; and Fifth, Cherry Creek High School.

In the team competition from Region 2, Rifle High School in Rifle finished first with their three bridges holding more then 13,100 times their own weight. Other teams from Region 1 are: Second, Coronado High School; Third, Cheyenne Mountain High School; Fourth, Centauri High School; and Fifth, Rangely High School.

This year students designed a simplified version of a real-world bridge. The bridges were built with basswood and glue. The winning models were determined by the structural efficiency ratio, which is the maximum load divided by the weight of the bridge.

The state is divided into two regions, northern (Region 1) and southern (Region 2), with winners determined from each region. The first and second place winners from each region will be invited to compete in the international competition to be held on April 28, 2006, in Chicago, Ill.

The contest is jointly sponsored by the Professional Engineers of Colorado, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado, and the Bureau of Reclamation.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov.