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DOTs Win Awards for Projects That Strengthen Communities

Wed June 26, 2019 - Midwest Edition #13
AASHTO Journal

Eight transportation projects from six western state departments of transportation received top honors in the regional America's Transportation Awards competition. Some of the winning projects are credited with improving safety for schoolchildren, protecting wildlife habitats and restoring access to communities after massive mudslides.

"For 12 years, the America's Transportation Awards have recognized state DOT projects for making communities safer, less congested and better connected," said Carlos Braceras, executive director of the Utah Department of Transportation and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 2018-2019 president. "Today's regional winners demonstrate how state DOTs collaborate with local communities and partners to develop innovative, multimodal solutions that keep people and goods moving by motor vehicle, scooters, bicycle and on foot."

Sponsored by AASHTO, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the 12th annual America's Transportation Awards competition divides transportation projects up in three categories: Quality of Life/Community Development, which recognizes projects that have significantly benefited the community in which they exist, especially in the form of economic growth and well-being of citizens; Best Use of Technology & Innovation, which recognizes new technology and/or creative solutions implemented by a state department of transportation; and Operations Excellence, which recognizes projects that deliver a more reliable, well-functioning, and/or safer transportation system through operational solutions.

Project categories also are designated by size: small (projects costing less than $25 million), medium (projects that cost between $25 million and $200 million) and large (projects costing more than $200 million).

The winners from the Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials regional competition are:

  • North Dakota Department of Transportation's Pop-Up Demonstration Projects (Quality of Life/Community Development — Small category)
  • California Department of Transportation's Interstate 880 Safety and Operational Improvements at 23rd and 29th Avenues (Quality of Life/Community Development — Medium category)
  • Texas Department of Transportation's U.S. 290 Reconstruction from I-610 to Beltway 8 (Quality of Life/Community Development — Large category)
  • Washington State Department of Transportation's SR 500 — 42nd Ave to 54th Ave Safety Improvements Project (Operations Excellence — Small category)
  • South Dakota Department of Transportation's Interstate 90 Exit 14 (Operations Excellence — Medium category)
  • Nebraska Department of Transportation's Maintenance Decision Support and Automatic Vehicle Location Project (Best Use of Technology & Innovation — Small category)
  • California Department of Transportation's Highway 1/Mud Creek Emergency Restoration (Best Use of Technology & Innovation — Medium category)
  • Washington State Department of Transportation's I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project, Phases 1 and 2A (Best Use of Technology & Innovation — Large category)

The WASHTO winners are the first to be announced in what will be a total of four regional competitions. The three highest-scoring projects from each region will earn a place on the list of "Top 12" projects. Those 12 projects will compete for the Grand Prize, selected by an independent panel of industry judges and the People's Choice Award, which is chosen by the general public through online voting. The top two winners also receive $10,000 cash awards, to be donated to a charity or scholarship of the state DOT's choosing. The Top 12 projects will be announced on Aug. 23, when online voting for the People's Choice Award will begin. The winners of the top two awards will be announced Oct. 7, at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Mo.

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