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Group Names Best Transportation Projects

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

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Several bridge projects are vying for recognition as the best transportation project in the United States in the 2016 America's Transportation Awards competition.

Twelve projects from 10 state departments of transportation are competing for the national Grand Prize and the People's Choice Award in the program sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"From a record 84 nominated projects last spring, we're down to 12 finalists competing to be called the very best transportation project in America," said Bud Wright, AASHTO executive director.

CODOT US6
Colorado Department of Transportation via AASHTO

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s $98 million US 6 Bridges Design Build Project is one of 12 finalists in the 2016 America's Transportation Awards sponsored by AASHTO, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"This competition shows the excellence in project delivery we see, year after year across the country and it demonstrates why the real winners are the American people," Wright said. "These multimodal projects are reducing congestion, improving safety and stimulating economic growth."

Recognizing the Best

Now in its ninth year, the America's Transportation Awards recognizes the best projects in three categories:

  • Quality of Life/Community Development;
  • Best Use of Innovation; and
  • Under Budget.

The projects are also grouped into three sizes:

  • Small for projects costing less than $25 million;
  • Medium for those between $26 million and $199 million; and
  • Large for those costing $200 million or more.

Transportation projects completed in 2015 were eligible to compete in the 2016 competition; 40 state DOTs submitted projects this year. Officials from diverse industries within the transportation sector judged the submissions, and the 12 finalists are those that received the highest number of overall points during four regional competitions.

Project finalists are as follows.

Colorado Department of Transportation

Best Use of Innovation category, medium project group: The $72 million I-70 Mountain Express Lane project sought to reduce congestion by converting the eastbound shoulder into a tolled express lane during peak periods.

Under Budget category, medium project group: For $98 million, the US 6 Bridges Design Build Project replaced six obsolete bridges along US 6 in Denver.

Connecticut Department of Transportation

Best Use of Innovation category, large project group: This project replaced the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven. The $415 million extradosed bridge is said to be the first of its kind in the U.S.

Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge
Connecticut Department of Transporation via AASHTO

The 4,200-foot Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge bridge spanning the Quinnipiac River was reportedly constructed to help improve safety and mobility, and facilitate freight rail activities at one of the busiest intermodal ports in the country.

It has shallower cable angles and lower tower heights while maintaining required span length and marine navigational clearances.

Florida Department of Transportation

Quality of Life/Community Development category, medium project group: The $42.5 million Eller Drive/Intermodal Container Transfer Facility Overpass project replaced a bridge on Eller Drive over railroad tracks at Port Everglades in Broward County to improve traffic flow, safety and inter-modal connectivity.

Idaho Transportation Department

Quality of Life /Community Development category, small project group: The $16.6 million South Valley Connector project was undertaken to travel options, mobility, safety and access connecting Bannock Highway to South 5th Avenue, south of Pocatello.

Idaho South Valley Connector
Idaho Transportation Department via AASHTO

The $16.6 million South Valley Connector project consists of two travel lanes, bicycle lanes and a separated multi-use pathway; through this investment ITD officials acquired additional right-of-way for future roadway widening.

Under Budget category, large project group: The $857 million Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle Program accelerated the construction of several transportation projects across the state. The program reportedly added 119 miles to state highways for congestion relief, built 20 bridges, replaced or widened 26 others and reconstructed or improved nine interchanges.

North Dakota Department of Transportation

Under Budget Category, small project group: The $4.6 million Sorlie Bridge project rehabilitated an aging bridge across the Red River, to increase safety and maintain connectivity between the cities of Grand Forks, ND, and East Grand Forks, MN.

Oregon Department of Transportation

Quality of Life/Community Development category, medium project group: For $70 million, the Woodburn Interchange and Transit Facility Project on Interstate 5 in Woodburn reconstructed a congested and obsolete interchange area by way of a wider bridge, more travel lanes and new ramps.

South Dakota Department of Transportation

Best use of Innovation category, small project group: The $13.8 million Jackson Boulevard Phase II project reconstructed a section of Highway 44 in Rapid City. Use of the Linear Scheduling Method reportedly enabled SDDOT to complete the reconstruction in one year instead of two, to minimize impacts to the traveling public.

Tennessee Department of Transportation

Best Use of Innovation category, medium project group: At a cost of $62 million, the “Fast Fix 8” project replaced eight bridges on Interstate 40 in downtown Nashville on an accelerated basis. The work was completed seven months ahead of schedule.

Sorlie Bridge at night
North Dakota Department of Transportation via AASHTO

The $4.6 million project to rehabilitate the aging Sortie Bridge across the Red River included several safety and aesthetic features, such as paint and LED lighting to preserve its rich history.

Texas Department of Transportation

Best Use of Innovation category, large project group: The $2.7 billion Lyndon B. Johnson Expressway project north of Dallas was the state’s largest public-private partnership, a five-year reconstruction of a portion of I-635 to relieve severe congestion, partly by adding express toll lanes underneath the regular lanes.

Washington State Department of Transportation

Quality of Life/Community Development category, large project group: The $504 million Route 520 – Eastside Transit and HOV Lanes project replaced a bridge and added high occupancy vehicle lanes on Route 520 across Lake Washington, east of Seattle, to increase safety, mobility and access.

Cast Your Vote

Voting is now open to decide the winner of the People's Choice Award, while a panel of experts will select the Grand Prize winner. Individuals may cast a vote once each day, and the last date to cast an online vote is Oct. 31.

The Grand Prize and People's Choice award winners will each earn a $10,000 donation from AASHTO on behalf of the winning state DOT to a charity or scholarship fund of its choosing.

Both awards will be presented Nov. 14 at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Boston.

More information: americastransportationawards.org/.

   

Tagged categories: AASHTO; Awards and honors; Bridges; Infrastructure; Mass transit; North America; Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways; Transportation

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