Balsa Wood Bridge Building Competition

Sponsored By The Department of Civil Engineering and Construction at Bradley University

Program Details

In 1991, Dr. Amir W. Al-Khafaji, CEC chairman, developed the “Bridge-Pal Program” to foster an interest in engineering among area middle and high school students and help our students understand the value of good citizenship and service. As part of this program, each year CEC plans and carries out a balsa wood bridge building contest among interested student groups from area middle and high schools. There is no limit on the number of teams that each middle or high school can enter. However, and for logistic reasons, the total number of teams participating in this competition is usually limited to about 60 teams. Each team may consist of up to four members.

Each team, upon registering and payment of the $5 entry fee, is assigned a CEC student to be their BradleyPAL. Bradley PALS meet with their assigned teams at least once to help them organize, design, analyze and construct their bridges for the final competition. These meetings are held in the CEC Multimedia Computer Laboratory on the Bradley campus. Participating groups purchase the balsa wood bundles, glue, and card stock at a cost of $10 per bundle at these meetings. The final constructed bridges are evaluated and tested at the BRIDGE PAL bridge-busting event, which is typically held during Engineers Week at the Peoria Northwoods Mall.

The top five teams are invited to the CEC Honors Banquet (usually held in May) where they are awarded monetary prizes and a fully functional student version of AutoCAD for their respective schools.

27th Bridge-Pal Competition

Key Dates

Registration Due Date:

Register Online

Design Meeting Dates – Material pickup, team match up, and computer design analysis:
11/11/2017 or 11/18/2017

Bridges Due:
Sat. 2/10/2018 10am – Noon

Competition Date :
Sat. 2/24/2018 10am - 2pm
at Peoria Northwoods Mall

Contact Information

Prof. Burl George
Bridge-Pal Director
(309) 677-2935

Dr. Souhail Elhouar, PE
CEC Chair
(309) 677-3830

Mail dues to

Bridge-Pal Director
Department of CE and Const.
206 Jobst Hall
Bradley University
1501 W. Bradley Avenue
Peoria, IL 61625