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Design-build bridge competition highlights Construction Career Days

When most people hear the word “construction,” they likely think of heavy equipment such as excavators and dump trucks. While those vehicles are a vital component of many road and bridge projects, the reality is a wide range of professionals in numerous disciplines are necessary for each successful construction project. Getting high school students who are exploring career options to consider this fact is the driving force behind the 11th Annual Construction Career Days.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the University of Rhode Island Transportation Center (URITC) are again partnering to host this hands-on career exploration event, which returns this week on Wednesday, April 27 and Thursday, April 28, 2011. RIDOT’s Midstate Maintenance Facility in East Greenwich is the host site for the two-day event, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., each day. Approximately 1,000 students from more than 50 technical and high schools throughout the State are anticipated to attend.

A key feature of the event this year is a design-build bridge competition, sponsored by RIDOT, the URITC, and Rhode Island Consulting Engineers (RICE). This year’s competition differs from last year’s debut event by placing a stronger emphasis on creativity and design. Each student team is given a set of specifications for their balsa wood bridge, but many of the design choices are left up to them.

“Much like the design-build process that RIDOT will be following for the replacement of the flood-damaged Laurel Avenue Bridge in Coventry, students will be given precise information to follow but will be responsible for coming up with the best design, the best solution, for their bridge,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said.

Each student team’s bridge will be tested by adding weight until it fails. Trophies will be awarded for first, second and third place based on the amount of weight held and the cost of construction. Last year, Tolman High School in Pawtucket took home the top honors on the first day of the event while on the second day, Burrillville High School and Spurwink School II of Lincoln both received trophies for their entries.

Students visiting Construction Career Days also will be able to operate a wide range of construction equipment such as backhoes, excavators, pavers and bucket trucks. Inside the Midstate facility, there will be a variety of activities including welding, hazardous materials suits, plumbing, electrical, a truck driver simulator and other disciplines. Also, a number of technical schools and colleges will be in attendance.

Additional Construction Career Day sponsors include Construction Industries of Rhode Island, New England Laborers Tri Funds, Beacon Mutual Insurance Company, Rhode Island Public Works Association, Rhode Island Builders Association, Rhode Island Technology Transfer Center and the NorthEast Technicians Training Certification Program.

MEDIA PLEASE NOTE: For an opportunity to interview students from your coverage area and exhibitors, please contact Charles St. Martin at (401) 222-1362 x. 4007 or All media are welcome to have a hands-on experience at Construction Career Days.


DIRECTIONS: Take I-95 North or South to Exit 7 (West Warwick, Coventry). Follow signs.

Scheduled teams for this year’s bridge building competition include:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Burrillville High School (Burrillville); Bradley Hospital (East Providence); Ponaganset High School (Foster-Glocester); North Smithfield High School (North Smithfield); Central High School, Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical, and Providence Academy of International Studies (Providence); Eleanor Briggs School (Warwick); and Briggs Community Partnership (West Warwick).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spurwink School and Davies Career and Technical School (Lincoln); Block Island School (New Shoreham); North Providence High School (North Providence); North Smithfield High School (North Smithfield); William E. Tolman High School (Pawtucket); Hope High School (Providence); Tiverton High School (Tiverton); and Our Lady of Fatima High School (Warren).

Scheduled schools for all activities at Construction Career Days include:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Burrillville High School (Burrillville ); Harmony Hill School (Chepachet); Coventry High School - Transition For Success (Coventry); Cranston Area Career & Technical Center (Cranston); Cumberland High School (Cumberland); Bradley Hospital and East Providence Career & Technical Center (East Providence); Ponaganset High School (Foster-Glocester); Johnston High School (Johnston); High Road School of Providence (North Providence); Narragansett ALP (North Kingstown); North Smithfield High School (North Smithfield); Blackstone Academy, Shea High School, and The Tides School (Pawtucket); Central High School, Feinstein High School/Square Mile High School, Academy of International Studies, Providence Career & Technical Academy, The College Crusade of Rhode Island, and Metropolitan Regional Career & Tech Center (Providence), South Kingston High School (South Kingstown); R.I. Transition Academy, The Eleanor Briggs School, and West Bay Educational Collaborative (Warwick); Exeter/West Greenwich High School (Exeter/West Greenwich); Briggs Community Partnership (West Warwick); Chariho Career & Technical Center (Chariho); and Woonsocket Area Career & Technical Center (Woonsocket).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Central Falls High School (Central Falls); Coventry High School/Career & Tech Center (Coventry); Cranston ARC/Cornerstone School (Cranston); Cumberland High School (Cumberland); Exeter Job Corps Academy (Exeter); Lincoln High School- Transition Group, Spurwink School, and William M. Davies Career & Technical School (Lincoln); Block Island School (New Shoreham); Exeter/West Greenwich High School ALP (Exeter/West Greenwich); North Kingstown High School (North Kingstown); North Providence High School (North Providence); North Smithfield High School (North Smithfield); The Tides School and William E. Tolman High School (Pawtucket); CCAP- Learn to Earn: Skills Center, Mount Pleasant High School, Ocean Tides High School, The College Crusade of Rhode Island, The Providence Center School, and Youthbuild Providence (Providence); Smithfield High School (Smithfield); Tiverton High School (Tiverton); Our Lady of Fatima High School (Warren); and Beacon Charter High School (Woonsocket).

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Transportation
  • Online:
  • Release date: 04-25-2011

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