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College Bridge Building Competition

College Bridge Building Competition

Oakhill held its first internal Bridge Building Competition on 22 May. Seven teams consisting of 3 students each from Grades 8 to 12 competed against each other to determine which team’s bridge could carry the most mass. All teams received the same materials – twenty 4mm thickness wooden sticks, glue and a few meters of rope and had 6 hours to design and build their bridge. All the teams did an excellent job considering it was their first attempt at this type of competition – even the team that ended 7th carried 30 kg before breaking. Other teams were able to carry masses of 50 kg, 60 kg and 70 kg before breaking. And then we hit a snag – two of our teams were able to pack all 107 kg available on their bridges and still they did not break! It meant that we had to order more weights to be cut and finally the winners could be determined. The winning bridge carried a whopping 142,5 kg. That was 1037 times its own weight!

The first three teams in the internal competition were as follows:

  • 1st: Rhys van der Handel, Joshua Bennett, Joshua Killian

  • 2nd: Tristan McKechnie, Finn Stevenson, Sean Brodie

  • 3rd: Louis Maarsingh, Nicholas Thomson

After this trial at school, three teams went through to compete in the provincial competition organised by the South African Council for Civil Engineers in Port Elizabeth. Our 1st team (Rhys van der Handel, Josh Bennett and Andrew Vedder) carried a mass of 95 kg which was equal to the mass carried by the overall winners, but due to our bridge being heavier and awarded a lower mark for aesthetics, we were placed third. Our 2nd team consisting of Tristan McKechnie; Finn Stevenson & Louis Maarsingh came 5th overall and the junior team (Luc van der Handel, Brandon van Staden and Liam Watson) placed 10th.

The competition was of a very high standard with most schools displaying a lot of experience and skill. We are incredibly proud of all our Oakhill teams – as our first attempt, only nine days before the Port Elizabeth competition, we truly achieved great results. Well done bridge builders!

Winning Team:
Bridge carried 1037 times its own weight in the internal competition

1st-lowres2nd Team:
Bridge carried 619.6 times its own weight in the internal competition


3rd Team:
Bridge carried 387 times its own weight in the internal competition

3rd-lowres4th Team:
Bridge carried 341 times its own weight in the internal competition

4th-lowres5th Team:
Bridge carried 334 times its own weight in the internal competition


6th Team:
Bridge carried 306 times its own weight in the internal competition

6th-lowres7th Team:
Bridge carried 248 times its own weight in the internal competition



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