Projects in Connecticut and Florida have won the top two prizes in the 2016 America’s Transportation Awards competition, seeing off 82 other nominees from 39 state departments of transportation (DOTs).
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA (American Automobile Association) and the US Chamber of Commerce have announced that the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) has earned the Grand Prize and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) was voted the People’s Choice Award winner in the 2016 Transportation Awards.
Now in its ninth year, the competition attracted a record 84 project nominees from 39 state DOTs plus DC that competed in four regional competitions. The 12 projects receiving the highest ratings in the regional competitions competed for the final two awards. A panel of experts selected the Grand Prize winner and the project receiving the highest number of online votes earned the People’s Choice Award. As well as the awards, the winners were each presented with a US$10,000 cash prize to be used to support a charity or transportation-related scholarship program of the agencies’ choosing.
CTDOT’s US$554m Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge is of extradosed construction, which combines the main elements of both pre-stressed box girder and cable-stayed designs, and is the first of its kind in the USA. It has shallower cable angles and lower tower heights, while maintaining required span length and marine navigational clearances. The 4,200ft (1,280m) bridge spans the Quinnipiac River and connects with I-95, I-91 and Route 34. The unique bridge has become a distinctive landmark across the New Haven skyline and will handle 140,000 vehicles daily, improve safety and mobility, and facilitate freight rail activities at the Gateway Terminal, which is one of the busiest intermodal ports in the country.
FDOT’s Eller Drive Intermodal Container Transfer Facility Overpass project earned 65,000 of the more than 220,000 online votes cast, making it the winner of the People’s Choice Award. The US$42.5m project improved traffic flow, safety and inter-modal connectivity once crews upgraded intersections and constructed ramps, and added new railroad tracks, crossing signals, retention ponds, lighting, landscaping and irrigation to the area. A new bridge provides a grade separation for freight rail at the main access roadway into Port Everglades and eliminates traffic congestion, allowing uninterrupted travel to and from the cruise and container terminals, and is an integral connector for cruise traffic between Ft Lauderdale, Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades.
“This year’s Grand Prize winner, the new Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, is another perfect example of what this competition is about,” said Bud Wright, AASHTO’s executive director. “This spectacular new addition to New Haven’s skyline is one of the largest projects in the Connecticut DOT’s history. And it was delivered ahead of schedule and on budget, improving safety, relieving congestion, and enhancing travel options for tens of thousands of daily commuters.”
Jill Ingrassia, managing director of government relations at AAA, noted, “These awards continue to showcase how state and local transportation agencies are using innovative approaches to tackle a broad range of transportation projects.”