Schools challenged to take up the Telford Big Bridge Challenge

Unique prizes are up for grabs for the borough’s primary and secondary school pupils from today with a new bridge building challenge.

Schools challenged to take up the Telford Big Bridge Challenge

Unique prizes are up for grabs for the borough’s primary and secondary school pupils from today with a new bridge building challenge aimed at encouraging Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning and is being organised by Telford & Wrekin Council as part of the Telford 50 celebrations.

The ‘Telford Big Bridge Challenge’ encourages pupils to build a bridge as a team and as a separate individual challenge, to get their thinking caps on and come up with a name for the new bridge.

Cabinet member for Transport, Infrastructure & Broadband, Councillor Angela McClements said: “With the ‘Year of Engineering’ under way Telford & Wrekin Council wanted to join in with the celebrations to encourage STEM education in the borough. 

“It’s an important priority for the next generation in creating innovators and problem solvers and the footbridge project is a real working opportunity right here in Telford for pupils to put themselves in the position of an engineer or architect. 

“Our project partners have been very supportive in providing some fantastic prizes which we are very grateful for. They will enhance learning and help the pupils understand how they can help shape the future of the world we live in through STEM roles in the workplace. 

“We hope to help spark the interest of the town’s young people through the competition and also the Discover Digital day we are hosting in June and encourage teachers and pupils all get involved.  

“They can also enter the naming challenge for the new bridge from which the winning entry will be adopted during an official opening ceremony later in the year.” 

RAF Museum Cosford, Enginuity Science Museum, Jacobs and Balfour Beatty have all supported the competition with some fabulous prizes including whole class STEM workshops for primary pupils. Secondary pupils’ prizes include a trip to the British Airways i360, a magnificent feat of engineering with one of the most slender towers in the world and an RAF cockpit experience. 

Winners of the naming challenge will also be rewarded with a number of prizes including an iPad, invitation to the official opening ceremony later in the year and own a small piece of the town’s history by way of signed architectural drawing by the new bridge’s architect - Professor Ric Russel.  

Only schools in Telford & Wrekin can enter the challenge, full details can be found here.

The Telford footbridge team is working with footbridge project partners and prizes have been sponsored to encourage STEM learning and creative thinking. Bridges will be judged in two categories by specialist bridge engineers on efficiency and aesthetics. 

Work started in 2017 to replace the existing Telford Central footbridge that connects the train station to the town centre. This complex engineering project is funded by a Department for Transport grant and spans two dual carriageways carrying around 14 million vehicles a year, as well as a live railway line. The bridge has reached the end of its lifespan and would be too expensive to maintain, costing in excess of £1m, just to repaint. 

The winners will go forward to take part in a presentation at the Discover Digital event on June 28 where cabinet members will present the teams with their exciting prizes.

Discover Digital is a free event open to all 10-16 year olds in the borough and is aimed at inspiring young people through digital technology. There will be nine interactive zones to explore from machine intelligence to cyber security, masterclasses, a football shoot out and even a full motion racing simulator. Visit, visit Facebook or #discoverdigital on Twitter.

Pictured left to right: Pupils of Redhill Primary School (all aged 10) Sam Burns, Joey Wong and Aimee Powell with Cabinet member for transport, infrastructure, & Broadband, Angela McClements.