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Transportation Construction Industry Environmental Excellence Honored at ARTBA Awards

Thu May 27, 2010 - National Edition
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Highway, road, bridge and waterway improvement projects across the country were recognized May 25 for their contributions to environmental protection and mitigation during the American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation’s (ARTBA-TDF) 11th annual “Globe Awards” event, held in Washington, D.C., 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. The 2010 “Globe Award” winners are:

Category: Road

• First Place: Corman Construction, Whitney, Bailey, Cox & Magnani, and Maryland State Highway Administration: “Design-Build Md. 30 Hampstead Bypass”

Envisioned more than 40 years ago and made reality in 2009 with strong community support, the bypass is a $43 million, 4.5-mi. (7.2 km) roadway that significantly reduces traffic congestion and air and noise pollution in the town of Hampstead, Md. With limited access roundabouts, it has markedly improved traffic mobility. Its enhancements included environmentally sustainable side slopes and shoulders, preservation of the threatened bog turtle habitat, bicycle compatible features, air and noise pollution mitigation through berms and noise walls, and landscape improvements that helped maintain the bucolic nature of the rural area.

• Second Place: City of Peoria, Jacobs Engineering Group and Ames Construction: “Happy Valley Road — 67th Avenue to Lake Pleasant”

What was budgeted as a $54 million, three-lane half street improvement project in Arizona was completed ahead of schedule as a $43.5 million 4 mi. (6.4 km), six lane roadway that improved the environment. Working with local citizens, the city of Peoria and its engineering and contracting team salvaged and transplanted 200 native trees and 100 cacti, used riprap as a silt protection for the storm drain systems and for erosion protection on the landscaped slopes, and utilized salvaged soils and rock from the roadway excavation to enhance the corridor’s aesthetics.

Category: Highway

• First Place (tie): O & G Industries Inc., Star Construction Corporation, MD Drilling and Blasting, and Stewart’s Nursery Inc.: “U.S. Route 7 Bypass”

Building the 2.9-mi. (4.6 km) highway bypass around the Brookfield Four Corners Commercial Center in southwestern Connecticut, project team members used special wall designs to prohibit turtles and snakes from entering the roadway, laid extensive fencing and access channels to direct animals through safe corridors and scheduled project construction in stages to protect the needs of wildlife in the project area. Fish ladders also were deployed to create new spawning areas, along with establishing 3.6 acres of new wetlands, 13.4 acres of floodplain, and 15 acres of upland forest as habitat.

• First Place (tie): Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority and PBS&J: “State Road 408 (SR 408) Context Sensitive Design and Reconstruction”

SR 408, a 16-mi. (25.7 km) toll road through Orlando, Fla., had experienced traffic volumes exceeding the original design capacity. To overcome this challenge, the team increased highway capacity with a specific emphasis on environmental protection. Project designers expanded an urban wetland and planted extensive native plant varieties for irrigation-free landscaping in order to provide a distinctive natural appearance to the project as a “gateway” to downtown. The team also relied on a certified arborist to identify — and protect — existing old growth trees as a community benefit.

• Second Place: Bell & Associates Construction, Charles Blalock and Sons Inc., Wright Brothers Construction Company, Wilbur Smith Associates, and Tennessee Department of Transportation: “SmartFix 40”

Widening Interstate 40 and completing adjacent roadway improvements in Knoxville provided an opportunity to showcase the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s SmartFix 40 accelerated construction process, and implement new technologies to provide key environmental benefits. Team members planted more than 25,000 trees and shrubs, and created more than 20 acres of wildflower fields. Builders also established a new greenway connection to link communities previously divided by the highway and integrated clear panel noise barriers to “shed light” on communities previously in highway shadows while reducing noise pollution.

Category: Bridge (Projects Over $100 Million)

• First Place: The Louis Berger Group Inc., and Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission: “Trenton-Morrisville Toll Bridge Rehabilitation and Widening”

The $102 million rehabilitation and widening of the 1.2-mi. (1.9 km) Trenton (N.J.)-Morrisville (Pa.) Toll Bridge, originally opened to traffic in 1952, has greatly reduced traffic congestion along this critical link on U.S. Route 1. To minimize impacts on the Delaware River, the team designed cantilevered extensions anchored vertically into existing bridge piers allowing an additional lane without structural construction in the river, resulting in a major reduction in time, cost and environmental impacts. Noise walls were constructed to shield residential communities during construction, and the sustainable design of the project also extended the life of the existing structures with the use of structural steel, a recyclable material, as a main component.

Category: Bridge (Projects Under $100 Million)

• First Place: T.Y. Lin International, Flatiron Construction, Safdie Rabines Architects, and San Dieguito River Park: “David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge”

With only six examples in North America and fewer than 50 worldwide, the world’s longest stress-ribbon bridge (1,000 ft.) opened in San Diego, Calif., last May. A stress-ribbon bridge is essentially a suspension bridge with cables embedded within an ultra-thin concrete deck. It is an eco-friendly design since it only required two piers, which minimized its impacts on wetlands habitat. Construction took place only during the winter so as not to disturb the breeding season of several sensitive bird species in this major east-west wildlife movement corridor. Hikers, bikers and bird watchers are now afforded safe access to the extensive 55-mi. (88.5 km) Coast-to-Crest Trail system within the San Dieguito River Park while still being able to enjoy the natural lake views.

Category: Waterways & Ports

• First Place: San Antonio River Authority, HDR Engineering, and Ford, Powell & Carson: “Museum Reach Urban Segment-San Antonio River Walk”

The 1.3 mi. (2 km) River Walk extension, initiated by San Antonio River Authority in partnership with the engineering and architect teams, integrated a linear park with enhanced flood control measures in a highly-urbanized setting, and featured ecosystem and native wildlife preservation, artistic amenities and increased safety elements. The project was described by San Antonio political leader Nelson Wolf as “the most beautiful and significant public works project of our time.”

The Globe Awards program is a Foundation project that complements ARTBA’s “Pride in Transportation Construction” campaign to focus public attention on the many positive contributions the transportation construction industry has made to the U.S. economy and quality of life.