State DOTs Recognized by National Partnership for Highway Quality

AASHTO Journal, 28 October 2011

DETROIT — Seven projects from five states were recognized by the National Partnership for Highway Quality’s 2011 National Achievement Awards. The winners were announced at the 2011 AASHTO Annual Meeting in Detroit, during the Board of Directors meeting on Oct. 17.NPHQ’s awards program recognizes highway and bridge projects that have introduced innovations that deliver better-performing projects faster and yield better service to customers. NPHQ introduced the awards program to stress that high quality in projects allows for greater mobility for highway users and better return on investment by the public.

North Carolina DOT was named the National Achievement Award Winner for its U.S. 17 Washington Bypass Project, which has been recognized for its innovative design and construction process that greatly reduced any impacts to the environmentally sensitive wetlands in the project area. Completed more than seven months ahead of schedule, the project has significantly eased congestion caused by commercial truck traffic for the surrounding areas.

Michigan DOT claimed two awards: the Platinum Level Award for the Fix on I-196 Project in Grand Rapids and Special Recognition for a Small Project Winner for MDOT’s I-94 Business Loop Reconstruction Project in Benton Harbor. The Fix on I-196, which was also recognized as a Top 10 project in the America’s Transportation Awards competition, reconstructed part of the freeway to include an additional through-lane in each direction, a new weave/merge lane in each direction, a wider roadway, and five new bridges. The improvements have greatly improved safety and mobility for pedestrians and motorists alike. The I-94 Business Loop Reconstruction project rebuilt roughly two miles of the I-94 Business Loop, improving safety and traffic flow, as well as helping to boost the local economy.

Special Recognition for a Structures Project Winner was the Maryland Transportation Authority for its I-95/I-695 Interchange and I-95 Express Toll Lanes Reconstruction Project in Rosedale. This MDTA project built 11 bridges in close proximity to residential communities while still keeping traffic flowing throughout the construction process. Customers were kept continually informed through an interactive website, open houses, project tours, media advisories, newsletters, and roadway signage. The final product reduced congestion and improved safety for all drivers.

Two awards were given to Minnesota DOT: The Gold Level Award for the I-35W/Highway 62 Crosstown Commons Project in Minneapolis and the Executive Director’s Award for the U.S. 169 Mining Subsidence Mitigation Project in Chisholm. The reconstruction of I-35W/Highway 62 commons area is the state’s largest project to date, which created a new multi-level, urban freeway with minimal disruption to the area. The project’s completion meant safer driving conditions, shorter commute times, and increased capacity. The U.S. 169 Mining Subsidence Mitigation project delivered an innovative solution to bridge a two-mile section of highway that covered abandoned underground mines. After completing a mapping project and geotechnical and geophysical studies of the mines, a highway risk assessment was completed to see what parts of the highway segments needed to be addressed. From this, a solution was found to build a strong highway that can bridge a collapse underneath it.

Along with Mn/DOT, Missouri DOT received the Gold Level Award for the New I-64 Project in St. Louis. The project completely reconstructed roughly 10 miles of I-64 in the metropolitan area, which included 13 interchanges. The project not only finished a month ahead of schedule, but also came $11 million under budget. While the public was at first apprehensive of the project (as there was a complete closure of the existing I-64 in 5-mile segments for one year at a time per segment), a survey given after completion showed 95% of the public was satisfied with the project and the 2-year closure.

More information on the NPHQ is available at

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