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Transportation Project Excellence

Friday, June 10, 2016

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Seven transportation construction projects in the northeast United States have been recognized as the best of the best.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), a standards setting group that publishes specifications, test protocols and guidelines for highway design and construction, revealed the first round of winners in its 2016 America's Transportation Awards competition on Tuesday (June 7).

"America's Transportation Awards showcase the outstanding transportation projects that improve travel and quality of life in the United States," said Paul Trombino, AASHTO's president and director of the Iowa DOT.

NJDOT project
Photos courtesy of AASHTO

NJDOT was recognized as a large project in the Quality of Life/Community Development category for its replacement of aging bridges, utility upgrades, capacity expansions and connectivity improvements along Route 3 north of Lyndhurst.

"Through these awards, we recognize state DOTs for their diligent efforts and highlight how their work helps improve the quality of life and economic prosperity across the country," he added.

Outstanding Northeast Projects

AASHTO’s national competition was developed to acknowledge excellence in construction projects that improve travel safety, reduce roadway congestion and provide more mobility options. Despite its name, the association represents not only highways but air, rail, water, and public transportation as well.

The program, now in its ninth year, is divided into four regional groups that identify winning projects in the categories of Quality of Life/Community Development, Best Use of Innovation and Under Budget.

Nominations for projects completed in 2015 were judged by officials representing diverse industries within the transportation sector.

A total of 40 state DOTs participated in this year's competition, submitting a record number of 84 award nominations. In the Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials (NASTO) regional competition alone, 10 DOTs entered 21 transportation projects for consideration.

Burns Bridge

MassDOT's Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Bridge Replacement Project took top honors in the medium project group ($26 million-$199 million) for the Quality of Life/Community Development category.

Competitors from the northeastern states' departments of transportation were the first to claim awards this year during the NASTO annual conference in Quebec City. NASTO's membership includes some Canadian transportation agencies, as well as states in the U.S. Northeast.

Quality of Life/Community Development

The New Jersey DOT won in the large project competition ($200 million and up) for its work to replace the deteriorating bridge along Route 3 over the Passaic River, north of Lyndhurst.

Crews replaced aging bridges, conducted utility upgrades, added capacity and improved connectivity to address 2030 growth projections, AASHTO said. NJDOT also saved $1.4 million on the project by using innovative sewer technology.

The Massachusetts DOT's Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Bridge Replacement Project between Shrewsbury and Worcester took top honors in the medium project group ($26 million-$199 million).

Improvements in the $105 million project included reconstruction of one intersection, a new traffic roundabout, utility relocations, new drainage, sidewalks, bike lanes and pedestrian ramps, among others.

MassDOT expedited bridge work by using accelerated construction techniques to reduce environmental and traffic impacts and to allow two lanes of traffic in each direction with enough clearance for boat passage underneath. AASHTO said.

The Maine DOT's project to expand Portland's International Marine Terminal won in the small project group, which is for projects costing less than $25 million.

MaineDOT marine terminal project

A $9.5 million Portland's International Marine Terminal project won in the small project group, which is for projects costing less than $25 million, of the Quality of Life/Community Development Category.

This $9.5 million marine terminal project is meant to increase new rail container service to New York and southern New England and reduce freight traffic on the state highways.

As part of the project, crews installed 5,000 feet of new railroad track, and constructed a loading pad for shipping containers in preparation for a new cold storage facility.

Best Use of Innovation

The Connecticut DOT won for large project as it replaced its Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven.

Pearl Harbor memorial Bridge

ConnDOT's Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven was recognized in the large project division of the Best Use of Innovation category.

ConnDOT’s $415 million extradosed bridge is said to be the first of its kind in the state. At 4,200 feet, it features shallower cable angles and lower tower heights while maintaining required span length and marine navigational clearances.

The bridge is expected to handle 140,000 vehicles daily, improve safety and mobility, and facilitate freight rail activities at one of the busiest intermodal ports in the country, AASHTO noted.

New Hampshire DOT's rebuilding of I-93 near Windham won for a medium-sized project.

This job rebuilt I-93 in southern New Hampshire used storm-water management methods to protect water quality of a lake near one highway exit.

Innovative designs increased erosion and sediment controls by calculating runoff volumes and storage capacities, creating clean water diversions around construction areas, according to AASHTO.

The New York State DOT won for a small-sized project that replaced bridges and improved the ramp at Exit 4 off Interstate 87 near the Town of Colonie.

The $22.4 million project effectively replaced the two aging bridges in eight months instead of two years, while managing 110,000 vehicles daily without disrupting traffic.

Crews also widened the road under the bridge and added sidewalks for safer access to nearby businesses and destinations.

Under Budget

The competition presented one northeastern prize in the Under Budget category, to the Maryland DOT for its safety improvements and resurfacing project on MD 210 from MD 373 to Farmington Road in Accokeek.

resurfacing project

MDOT's $2.9 million resurfacing project, winning the Under Budget Category, employed an innovative “whitetopping” concrete pavement, which is expected to extend the lifespan of the road by replacing asphalt with this more durable material.

This $2.9 million resurfacing project tackled a busy six-lane divided highway in the outskirts of Washington, D.C. Here, crews used an innovative “whitetopping” concrete pavement, which is expected to extend the lifespan of the road by replacing asphalt with this more durable material.

MDOT saved $225,000 and finished the work ahead of schedule.

Additional Winners to Come

Winners in the three remaining regions will be announced at their respective meetings this summer.

After that, the 10 projects with the highest overall scores will compete for a National Grand Prize to be determined by a panel of transportation experts.

There will also be a People's Choice Award for the project receiving the most online public votes.

AASHTO will announce the Top 10 finalists during the last week in September, and online voting for the People's Choice will be open Oct. 1 - 30.

Winners of both national awards will be announced at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Boston in November. Each winning State DOT will also receive a $10,000 check for donation to a charity or scholarship program of their choice.

America's Transportation Awards are sponsored by AASHTO, the AAA motor club and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


Tagged categories: AASHTO; Awards and honors; Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT); Infrastructure; North America; Ports; Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways; Transportation

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