On Thursday, July 18, NTE Mobility Partners (NTEMP), the company who developed and operates the North Tarrant Express and NTE TEXpress Lanes, partnered up with Birdville Independent School District to launch Birdville’s 1st STEM camp for middle school students. The one-day STEM camp was held at the Birdville Career and Technology Center in North Richland Hills.
NTEMP took over the morning session of the one-day camp and taught 30 students from North Richland Middle School about civil engineering and how it pertains to bridge building. The students were challenged to the North Tarrant Express Bridge Design Challenge and were given K’NEX pieces to build a bridge of at least 3 feet in length. Twelve volunteers from NTEMP, LBJ Infrastructure Group, NTE Mobility Partners Segments 3, Stantec, UT Austin and Jacobs joined up as partners to represent the North Tarrant Express project at the STEM Camp.
After the presentation and curriculum instruction, NTEMP volunteers explained the 90-minute challenge, rules and scoring. Students were divided up into groups of five so that NTEMP volunteers could provide specialized guidance and support. Each team of students was instructed to build a three-foot-long bridge that must at least hold one ream of paper. The winning bridge would need to be the strongest and have a combination of creativity and cost effectiveness.
After 90 minutes, students raced to turn in their finished bridge. As the judges called on each team for testing, the students watched with great anticipation to see each bridge’s breaking point. Teams were awarded First, Second and Third Place. The winning bridge held 13 reams of paper. Overall, students practiced teamwork, strategic thinking, problem solving and their STEM skills.
ABOUT THE NORTH TARRANT EXPRESS
The $2.1 billion North Tarrant Express project, which began in 2010 and was completed in October 2015, included the reconstruction of expanded frontage lanes and main lanes, as well as the addition of bypass lanes and TEXpress managed lanes along IH 820 and SH 121/183 between 35W in Fort Worth and Industrial Boulevard (FM 156) in Euless. This expansive reconstruction project is successfully alleviating traffic congestion along one of the busiest highway corridors in the North Texas and the state, with as many as 200,000 cars traveling the stretch daily.