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Engineering Project Finalists Named

Thursday, August 14, 2014

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From a complex rail crossing to a research station floating on a block of ice, five projects have been selected as finalists for the American Society of Civil Engineers' most prestigious award.

ASCE's Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award (OCEA) recognizes an exemplary civil engineering project. Established in 1960, this award honors the project that best illustrates superior civil engineering skills and represents a significant contribution to civil engineering.

The five finalists are:

  • Colton Crossing Flyover in Colton, CA;
  • Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation Project in Los Angeles, CA;
  • San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco and Oakland, CA;
  • Ward County Water Supply Project, running through Monahans and Odessa, TX; and
  • Halley VI Antarctic Research Station in Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica.
Colton Crossing Flyover
HDR Inc.

The Colton Crossing Flyover is one of five finalists for ASCE's 2015 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award.

The winning project will be announced March 26, 2015, at ASCE's 2015 Outstanding Project and Leaders (OPAL) gala in Arlington, VA.

The Finalists

The Colton Crossing Flyover, located about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, is an "at grade" rail-to-rail intersection that sees about 125 crossings daily. It is one of the busiest and most congested railroad crossings in the U.S., according to ASCE.

Engineering firm HDR designed an 8,150-foot flyover structure, eliminating the chokepoint and carrying the Union Pacific Railroad's east-west tracks 35 feet above the north-south tracks of the BNSF Railway.

Echo Park Lake

The Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles (before, left) was rehabilitated (right) to improve the water quality.

The Black & Veatch Corporation designed the Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation Project in Los Angeles to improve  water quality in the 13-acre lake to meet the standards established by the California Regional Water Quality Board.

The bond-funded $45 million project redefined the lake as a stormwater treatment facility.

Bay Bridge

The $6.4 billion new east span of the Bay Bridge is the world's widest bridge and the world's longest SAS bridge.

At 2,047 feet long, the new east span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is considered the longest single-tower, self-anchored suspension span (SAS) bridge in the world. With a width of 258.33 feet, it is also the world's widest bridge, according to ASCE.

The $6.4 billion project is the largest public-works project in California to date. The bridge is designed to support 10 lanes of traffic and more than 300,000 vehicles per day.

Ward County Water Supply
Oscar Renda Contracting

Work on the Ward County Water Supply Project faced numerous challenges.

Designed and constructed in less than 18 weeks (two weeks ahead of schedule), the Ward County Water Supply Project includes 21 groundwater wells, 65 miles of pipeline, and four booster pump stations.

The $100 million project came in $25 million under budget. Engineering challenges included:

  • Producing water from an aquifer with highly variable water quality;
  • Installing pipelines through several miles of shifting sand dunes;
  • Dealing with labor and housing shortages related to the oil and gas boom in West Texas;
  • Obtaining environmental permitting; and
  • Acquiring easements.
Halley VI

The futuristic Halley VI Research Station sits on a floating block of ice in a sea in Antarctica.

The Halley VI Research Station is located on the 500-foot-thick Brunt Ice Shelf floating in the Weddell Sea in Antarctica. The station is run by the British Antarctic Survey to study the Earth's atmosphere and was designed by AECOM and Hugh Broughton Architects.

Launched in 2013, it is the first fully relocatable Antarctic research station in the world.

The $43 million futuristic facility is divided into eight modules, each of which sits on top of hydraulic legs fitted with skis that can cope with increased snow accumulation.

Charles Pankow Award

ASCE also announced the winner of the 2015 Charles Pankow Award for Innovation. That honor celebrates collaboration in innovative design, materials or construction-related research and development transferred into practice in a sustainable manner.

Pile Dynamics Inc.

The Thermal Integrity Profiler will receive the 2015 Charles Pankow Award for Innovation.

The winner is the Thermal Integrity Profiler (TIP), a system that meaasures the temperature generated by cast-in-place concrete foundations during the curing process and software that allows engineers to evaluate the quality of the foundation based on the measured temperature profile.

TIP was a collaboration by Pile Dynamics Inc., the University of South Florida, Foundation & Geotechnical Engineering LLC, the Florida Department of Transportation, and the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The instrument was introduced to the market in 2011 and has since been used in over 40 projects. At first it was used with other integrity testing methods, but TIP is now starting to be specified on its own "as the industry recognizes its technical and time savings potential," according to ASCE.


Tagged categories: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); Awards and honors; Bridges; Construction; Engineers; Rehabilitation/Repair; Wastewater Plants

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (8/14/2014, 9:02 AM)

The Halley research station had a significant power outage recently.

Comment from Kevin Hahn-Keith, (8/14/2014, 11:11 AM)

The Bay Bridge is certainly an achievement, but I don’t understand how a bridge delivered 10 years late, 5 Billion over budget, with failing anchor bolts, failing paint, and questionable welds can be considered outstanding. It makes you wonder who was on the selection committee given this and the fact that that 3 out of 5 outstanding projects are in California

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