Question 1. The bridge is loaded from the highest point. Can the highest point be directly above one of the 2×4 supports or must it be between the supports? In my reading, the rules do not address such a possibility.
Answer 1. No, The highest point needs to be between the supports and needs to be able to support the measuring cup 2.5 cm above the support and between the supports when loading . While not specifically enumerated it is the intent of the competition to build the strongest bridge,
Question 2. Can the threaded metal bars that connect the 2x4s be used to support the bridge (e.g. can the students attach clay and pasta to the metal bars)? The rules seem to suggest this is not allowed (rules refer to not supporting the bridge from underneath and that the clay should be used to connect pasta to itself or the wood support), but I wanted to be sure.
Answer 2. No, Rule seven states: The bridge may not be braced against the supports from underneath. It should only contact the top surfaces of the supports, and cannot touch/be braced by the “ground.” “It should only contact the top surfaces of the supports” rules out using anything below the surface as off limits.