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Federal Design Achievement Award Winners Named

Wed May 10, 2000 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater and U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Mortimer L. Downey recently praised the transportation winners of the Federal Design Achievement Awards, the highest award in design given by the federal government.

“I congratulate the winners of these prestigious awards on their achievements,” said Downey, who represented the Department of Transportation (DOT) at an April ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. “These projects demonstrate that the transportation industry can lead the way in making our transportation facilities sensitive to the environment and to the needs of the traveling public.”

“President Clinton and Vice President Gore are committed to making our country a better and more beautiful place to live,” Secretary Slater said. “Good design helps our transportation system work rapidly, efficiently and safely while at the same time enriching our communities, and this year’s recipients in the transportation field provide outstanding examples of the difference good design can make.”

The Federal Design Achievement Awards, which are presented every four years, were established as part of the Presidential Design Awards program in 1983. Four juries composed of 22 private-sector design professionals from across the country reviewed 338 submissions from 71 federal agencies representing work in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and 10 foreign countries.

Since the early 1970s, the National Endowment for the Arts, at the President’s request, has worked to promote excellent design at the federal level. The Federal Design Improvement Program, a partnership between the Arts Endowment and the General Services Administration, helps ensure that good design is an integral part of responsible stewardship of public resources.

The transportation winners are:

• Grand Central Terminal, New York, NY — Once in serious disrepair, Grand Central Terminal is now a visual feast. The design team has upgraded the famous 1913 Beaux-Arts facility through a careful restoration and made critical changes that add new uses without destroying its architectural character.

• Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts for Transit, New York, NY — A key component of the far-reaching renewal program of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is Arts for Transit, which directs and oversees MTA’s aesthetic and architectural character. As the artistic eye of the MTA, Arts for Transit has been the driving aesthetic force behind the design elements, from railings to vending machines to new subway cars.

• Westside MAX Light Rail, Portland, OR — Westside MAX extends the Portland region’s light rail line 29 kilometers (18 mi.) to Hillsboro in the heart of Oregon’s fast-growing Silicon Forest. Architects, engineers, and artists joined with local citizens to capture the character of a particular area so that each of the 20 new stations reflects and enriches the neighboring community.

• Clark Bridge, Alton, IL — Rising from the Mississippi River, this elegant structure is the first three-span, cable-stayed, single pylon, common “saddle” bridge in the world. Since its completion, the bridge has had a large impact on the surrounding towns, boosting economic development and becoming a tourist attraction.

• Interstate 70, Glenwood Canyon, CO — Much of this highway is elevated on 40 bridges and viaducts with a combined length of more than 10 kilometers (6 mi.). In constructing the highway, engineers not only avoided further damage to a beautiful mountain canyon, but also restored the natural slopes and banks of the Colorado River.

• Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge Design Competition, Alexandria, VA — A series of sweeping V-shaped piers will carry the new 12-lane Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge across the Potomac River just south of Washington near historic Alexandria. The graceful and economical design was selected in an innovative national competition that is a model for high-profile, federally funded bridges throughout the country.

The two New York projects and the Portland MAX project were sponsored by DOT’s Federal Transit Administration, while the remaining projects were sponsored by the department’s Federal Highway Administration.

To further encourage excellence in transportation design and help fulfill the Clinton administration’s goal of enhancing the environment, the U.S. DOT has established its own Design for Transportation National Award Program. Applications for the year 2000 awards were due last November, and winners will be announced this spring. The Transportation Design Awards will be presented at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. on May 16.

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