Private Firms & Public Agencies Honored with Transportation Project Environmental Excellence Awards

Highway, bridge, transit and waterway projects from across the country were recognized for their contributions to environmental protection and mitigation during the American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation’s (ARTBA-TDF) 15th annual “Globe Awards” event, held June 10 in the Nation’s Capital as part of the association’s Federal Issues Program.

The “Globe Awards” recognize:

  • Private-sector firms and public-sector transportation agencies that do an outstanding job in protecting and/or enhancing the natural environment in the planning, design and construction of U.S. transportation infrastructure projects; and
  • Transportation construction-related product manufacturers and material suppliers that utilize exemplary environmental processes to protect and enhance the natural environment.

An independent panel of industry professionals reviewed all of the nominations and selected the winners in five categories.  The 2014 winners are:

Category: Bridges (Projects >$100 Million)

First Place: California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), T.Y. Lin International/Moffatt & Nichol, Joint Venture: “San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge New East Span”

Completed in September 2013, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge East Span runs 2.2 miles between Oakland and Yerba Buena Island in the San Francisco Bay Area. The bridge was built to withstand major earthquakes over the next 1,500 years and is the longest self-anchored suspension bridge in the world. The construction team worked closely with environmental groups to increase protection of fish and marine mammals and the streamlined design was created so as not to distract from the Bay’s natural beauty.  The new structure offers a bicycle and pedestrian paths and leaves room for future light rail construction – all aimed reducing the carbon footprint.  At night, the bridge is illuminated with the latest LED lighting technology for energy efficiency.

Second Place: AECOM: “Charles W. Cullen Bridge over the Indian River Inlet”

Opened to traffic in 2012, the $150 million, and 2,600-foot-long Charles W. Cullen Bridge over the Indian River Inlet in Rehoboth Beach, Del. is part of the protected Delaware Seashore State Park.  Built to withstand a 500-year storm surge and wind speeds up to 140 mph, the cable stayed bridge has no piers into the inlet.  The stays and towers resemble masts and sails of tall ships, which fit the regional-context of the Atlantic seashore.  It is supported by four 248-foot tall pylons, boasts an impressive 106-foot-wide and six-foot-deep concrete deck and a 12-foot-wide sidewalk and bike path.  The project is the first to apply a polyester polymer concrete overlay with a high molecular weight methacrylate resin prime coat to a bridge deck and integrate a unique monitoring system to track chloride ions over the life span of the bridge.

Category: Major Highway (Project >$100 Million)

First Place: NTE Mobility Partners and Bluebonnet Contractors: “The North Tarrant Express Project”

NTE Mobility Partners and Bluebonnet Contractors set the standard for excellence in construction environmental compliance with the 13-mile, $2.3 billion North Tarrant Express (NTE) project in Tarrant County, Texas. NTE, a four-year project that started in October 2010, had a comprehensive management framework that identified, monitored and reduced the environmental impacts at each stage of the transportation project. By establishing a multi-disciplinary team, asbestos along with other hazardous materials were remediated, and over 36,000 gallons of impacted groundwater with petroleum hydrocarbons and lead were cleaned and recycled. The project also promoted sustainability as NTE and Bluebonnet coordinated with a lime production facility to recycle over 150,000 gallons of water tainted with liquid lime during drought and water restriction periods.

Second Place: HNTB Corporation, Transurban, the Virginia Department of Transportation and Fluor-Lane: “495 Express Lanes”

The 495 Capital Beltway Express Lanes outside Washington, D.C. are the result of a Public-Private Partnership project between the Virginia Department of Transportation and Transurban. The project uses dynamic toll pricing to reduce traffic in one of the most congested parts of the nation.  The 14-mile long Express Lanes, which were built in partnership with HNTB Corporation and Joint Venture Fluor-Lane, also provide automated occupancy detection to assist in enforcement of High Occupancy Vehicle requirements.  These innovative congestion management techniques help mitigate harmful environmental impacts in a highly-urbanized area.  The team also constructed 80,000 feet of new sound walls to reduce noise pollution and replaced bike and trail bridges. The $1.6 billion project was completed a month early and $100 million under budget.  Communities along the corridor will benefit from decreased traffic congestion, cleaner air and an improved bike trail network.

Category: Major Highway (Project $10-100 Million)

First Place: Ames Construction, Inc., Arizona Department of Transportation (AZDOT) and Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD): “SR 260: Doubtful Canyon”

Ames Construction, Inc., in partnership with AZDOT and AZGFD widened over three miles of State Route (SR) 260 by reconstructing a two-lane undivided roadway into a four-lane divided highway, all while minimizing the impact to the pristine Tonto National Forest. To protect local wildlife, the team installed 16 bat boxes under six newly-constructed bridges and built seven miles of elk fence and 12 elk jumps.  One of their top priorities was to build with as little impact as possible on the surrounding forest.  To do this, they installed and constantly adjusted rip rap protecting the soil from erosion in areas of concentrated runoff, thereby stabilizing the forest.  Commitment to environmental protection was also evident in implementing a storm water pollution prevention plan and preserving the water table during wildlife migratory season.

Category: Public Transit (Project $10-100 Million)

First Place: HR&A Advisors and Parsons Brinckerhoff: “NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program”

The “NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program” is an effort by the New York Governor’s Office to rebuild and revitalize communities ravaged by Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and Superstore Sandy using federal disaster relief funds.  HR&A Advisors and Parsons Brinckerhoff were picked to help consult with seven coastal communities near Brooklyn and Manhattan. They provided preliminary planning and design for 81 potential projects, eight of which focus specifically on protecting or enhancing the natural environment. The reconstruction programs incorporate bike shares, repairing and constructing new, long-term ferry docks and protecting transit stops with tide gates.

Category: Waterways & Ports (Project < $10 Million)

First Place: Orion Marine Contractors Inc.: “Custom Plywood-Phase II Interim Remedial Action”

In 2013, Orion Marine Contractors Inc., was contracted by the Washington State Department of Ecology (WDOE) to complete a $9.3 million restoration and cleanup project at the old Custom Plywood Mill Site on Fidalgo Bay in Anacortes, Wash., which was shut down over two decades ago.  The project, completed in less than five months, included the removal of 52,000 tons of contaminated sediments along 10 acres of shallow tideland.  The team also constructed a jetty extension and a 300-foot protective spit to support the eroding shoreline, removed 1,500 derelict creosote pilings, and placed over 132,000 tons of new capping material to significantly reduce the spread of pollutants.

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