The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today, announced the finalists in the 2016 America's Transportation Awards competition. Twelve projects from 10 state departments of transportation are now competing for the national Grand Prize and the People's Choice Award.
"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. "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. These multimodal projects are reducing congestion, improving safety and stimulating economic growth."
Now in its ninth year, the America's Transportation Awards recognizes the best transportation projects in three categories and sizes: Quality of Life/Community Development, Best Use of Innovation, and Under Budget. The projects are 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.
The finalists received the highest number of overall points during four regional competitions. The nation will decide through online voting which of the projects will receive the People's Choice Award. A panel of experts will select the Grand Prize winner. 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.
Online voting begins today, Sept. 9, and will continue through Monday, Oct. 31, at http://AmericasTransportationAwards.org. Individuals are welcome to vote once a day for their favorite projects.
The finalists are listed in alphabetical order by state. Colorado and Idaho DOT each have two projects in the top 12:
Colorado Department of Transportation: Best Use of Innovation category, medium project group: I-70 Mountain Express Lane project. Under Budget category, medium project group: This 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.
Florida Department of Transportation: Quality of Life/Community Development category, medium project group: This project replaced a bridge on Eller Drive over railroad tracks at Port Everglades in Broward County.
Idaho Department of Transportation: Quality of Life /Community Development category, small project group: This project improved travel conditions and access connecting Bannock Highway to South 5th Avenue, south of Pocatello. Under Budget category, large project group: Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle Program, which accelerated the construction of several transportation projects across Idaho.
North Dakota Department of Transportation: Under Budget Category, small project group: This project rehabilitated the Sorlie Bridge that connects the cities of Grand Forks, N.D., to East Grand Forks, Minn.
Oregon Department of Transportation: Quality of Life/Community Development category, medium project group: Woodburn Interchange and Transit Facility Project on Interstate 5 in Woodburn.
South Dakota Department of Transportation: Best use of Innovation category, small project group: The Jackson Boulevard Phase II project reconstructed a section of Highway 44 in Rapid City.
Tennessee Department of Transportation: Best Use of Innovation category, medium project group: 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.
Texas Department of Transportation: Best Use of Innovation category, large project group: Lyndon B. Johnson Expressway project north of Dallas. This 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: This project replaced a bridge and added high occupancy vehicle lanes on Route 520 across Lake Washington, east of Seattle.
Transportation projects that were completed in 2015 are eligible to compete and the nominations are judged by officials representing diverse industries within the transportation sector.
Nationwide, a total of 40 state DOTs participated in this year's competition, submitting a record-high 84 award nominations.
Learn more about all of the nominated projects and the competition at AmericasTransportationAwards.org.