California, Florida DOTs Win for Projects in America’s Top Transportation Awards

AASHTO Journal, 26 November 2014

Caltrans’ San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge East Span.

​ AASHTO, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce named the California Department of Transportation as winner of the Grand Prize in the 2014 America’s Transportation Awards competition that judges major road and bridge projects, while the Florida DOT took the peoples’ choice award.

Each of those winners received a $10,000 cash prize, to be used to support a charity or transportation-related scholarship program of the agencies’ choosing.

A panel of judges picked Caltrans’ San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge East Span project for the Grand Prize. That $6.3 billion construction effort replaced a nearly 80-year-old structure with a new, modern bridge featuring advanced seismic response technology. The bridge was built to last more than 100 years, and was designed to allow future expansions of light rail and other transportation modes.

FDOT’s Mathews Bridge Impact and Emergency Response Project took the People’ Choice Award with more than 300,000 online votes.  The project followed a September 2013 incident in which a vessel collided with the Mathews Bridge, causing $3.8 million in structural damage. FDOT’s emergency repair plan reopened that vital Jacksonville crossing to vehicles just 33 days after the collision and 12 days ahead of schedule.

“There were many projects worthy of recognition in this year’s competition,” said Bud Wright, AASHTO executive director. “But the Caltrans and Florida DOT projects exemplify the best of the best. Their use of innovation and creative problem-solving improved the lives of the nearby communities and their economies. We sincerely tip our hats to all the hard working professionals who helped make these projects a reality.”

In all, a record 73 transportation projects from 36 states and the District of Columbia were nominated in the 7th annual competition. The 10 projects that received the highest number of points in four regional competitions were in the running for the top prizes.

FDOT’s Mathews Bridge Impact and Emergency Response Project

Jill Ingrassi, AAA managing director of government relations and traffic safety advocacy, said “AAA congratulates Caltrans and Florida DOT for these two award-winning projects that clearly illustrate the mobility and safety benefits gained from well planned and executed transportation projects.”

Ingrassi said the contest helps highlight the important work of state DOTs. “Shining a spotlight on projects like these that are under budget, innovative and add value to the community and quality of life reinforces how important transportation investment is to our daily lives.”

All projects in the competition were judged in three categories: “Under Budget,” “Best Use of Innovation,” and a new category this year “Quality of Life/Community Development.”

At the Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director of Transportation and Infrastructure Janet Kavinoky said that organization “is proud to help highlight the creative and effective work being done around the country to improve America’s transportation and infrastructure systems.”

“Projects like Caltrans’ and the Florida DOT’s are making a real difference in repairing and modernizing our nation’s infrastructure,” she said. “Their positive impacts are evident and should serve as examples of the potential for innovation and improvement in other states and communities.”

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