The transformation of the waterfront in Conshohocken and West Conshohocken, PA, from an aging industrial area into the Tower Bridge office complex has been named the Outstanding Engineering Achievement of the Year.
Beginning in 1989, the opening of nearly one million square feet of office space and two hotels has turned the waterfront into one of the region’s premier office complexes and pumped millions of dollars into the local economy. The project was selected for the award by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Society of Professional Engineers and is being announced as part of Delaware Valley Engineers Week, February 15 to 23. Delaware Valley Engineers Week 2002 will help celebrate 200 years of American engineering education.
Five Tower Bridge, an 11-story building that opened in 2001, was cited in the award as an example of the Tower Bridge complex’s engineering excellence. The building was built above three levels of parking to raise it out of a floodplain and has three bridges that span railroad tracks beneath the building. The entire complex is built upon a variety of challenging subsurface conditions, which Schnabel Engineering of West Chester addressed using various construction techniques.
The outstanding engineering award was presented to Oliver Tyrone Pulver, the owners of the Tower Bridge complex, and Schnabel Engineering at the Engineers Week lunch Feb. 15 at the Union League in Philadelphia. The Outstanding Engineering Achievement Awards are presented annually as part of Delaware Valley Engineers Week, which recognizes the contributions and achievements of the region’s engineers and the engineering profession.
The Tower Bridge project turned more than 35 acres (14 ha) of blighted industrial properties into an office complex that houses some of the region’s financial, technology and consulting companies. More than 3,000 jobs have been brought to the area, with municipal revenues expected to exceed $10 million annually by next year.
In addition to the Outstanding Engineering Achievement, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Society of Professional Engineers honored five other local projects.
The rehabilitation of the Strawberry Mansion Bridge in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia received a Notable Engineering Achievement Award. The 1,250-ft. (381 m) long bridge spans the Schuylkill River and opened in 1897. Concern over the condition of the bridge deck forced its closing in 1996. Lichtenstein Consulting Engineers of Langhorne led the rehabilitation of the bridge, which opened again in June 2001.
The widening of the Valley Forge Interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike also received a Notable Engineering Achievement Award. The project added four new lanes to the interchange, one of the most heavily traveled on the turnpike. Urban Engineers Inc., of Philadelphia, coordinated the work, which also included the installation of four E-Z Pass toll lanes and a new lighting system.
The relocation of the King of Prussia Inn in Montgomery County received an Honorable Mention. The inn was built in 1719 and served travelers, including George Washington, for more than 200 years. Urban Engineers and the International Chimney Corporation of New York teamed to move the 580-ton (526 t) inn a half-mile to a new home in 2001.
An Honorable Mention was awarded to the design and construction of a roller coaster train for the Texas Tornado Rail Coaster. RAD Engineering, of Kulpsville, and Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, of Hatfield, worked on the project. Work included the design and construction of five, four-passenger cars for the double-looping steel roller coaster at Wonderland Park in Amarillo.
The design and construction of two 960,000-cu.-ft. (27, 184 cu m) paint halls at the Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard also received an Honorable Mention in the program. STV Incorporated provided architectural and engineering design for the project.
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