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30th Annual Bridge Design Competition

Bridge Design Comp
Academy of Engineering and Architecture students perform well in 30th Annual Bridge Design Competition

The 30th annual ABATE Balsa Wood Bridge Competition was held again at Classic V Restaurant in Amherst. This is an annual event for high school students in the Buffalo area sponsored by local Engineering companies. A record number of schools participated in this year’s event with 74 bridges being tested. North Tonawanda had 44 students in grades 9-12 pack up their 18” long balsa wood bridges and compete against the other 54 bridges as well as their classmates. Some of the local schools participating were JFK, East Aurora, Pioneer, Williamsville East, St. Joes, Lake Shore, and the GOW. Most of the students worked in groups of 3 or 4 per bridge. The balsa wood bridges varied in design from very light “spaghetti” bridges to heavy beam styled structures. North Tonawanda seniors Ethan Farkas, Dan Gazdovich, Steve Becker and Mike Carroll’s’ 144 pound carrying beam bridge took 5th place in the competition, only missing 3rd place by .9. The scores of each bridge are determined by an efficiency rating of how much it holds to how much the bridge weighs along with a complexity, engineering and craftsmanship score. Overall NT had 4 bridges in the top 10 and 12 groups in the top 25. After the competition some of the students were even talking about what they can improve on for next year.