Every bridge has a breaking point.
It's become a tradition for some Union County high school engineering students to find out how long they can avoid having their bridges come crashing down. A battle to see who can create the best bridge out of wooden sticks, glue and dowels. A competition that results in the losers crashing into a thousand little pieces and the winners...well, same thing happens to them. Eventually.
This year's contest saw bridge-building powerhouse Teen Technology take the top spots in the 17th annual Bridge Building Competition. But New Providence High School wasn't far behind with a strong showing.
The competition is sponsored by Union County College's Engineering, Technology, Architecture Department, the event drew a diverse group of students from schools such as the Union County Vocational Tech, Union County Magnet High School, Elizabeth High School, New Providence High School, Cranford High School, and Hillside High School as well as the home-schooled Teen Technology team, which won the competition.
Students were split into two groups, the novice group of bridge-building beginners and an advanced group of builders whose bridges were holding well over 500lbs. by the time the competition was over and all the bridges has collapsed.
In the end it was New Providence up against Teen Technology, which is based in Bridgewater. The Union County duo of Nick Dowd and Brendan Turner, both juniors at New Providence High School, added weight after weight to their bridge before it came crashing down.
Cranford High School also had an excellent showing. The three teams that came out to represent the school were led by engineering teacher Joshua Rosenblum who stressed a light, yet strong, bridge building technique. The competition judges bridges not only by how much weight they hold before they snap, but the ratio of bridge weight to added weight.
Rosenblum's advanced team had one of the lightest bridges on the playing field. The Cranford team held onto first place for the early part of the competition, but finished in the top five later on. That won't stop this Union County school from reaching the top. Their teacher is already putting into play lessons learned and a new strategy for 2013. "We're looking at what we're going to do next year," said Roseblum.