AASHTO Journal, 12 August 2016
The departments of transportation of five Midwestern states – Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin – won regional awards in the America’s Transportation Awards national competition that recognizes excellence in transportation projects to improve travel safety, reduce roadway congestion and provide travelers with more transportation options.
Now in its ninth year, the America’s Transportation Awards competition is sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the AAA motor club and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
AASHTO presented the awards Aug. 9 at the annual conference in Minneapolis of the Mid America Association of Transportation Officials. MAASTO is the third of four regional groups to receive regional awards this summer. A final group representing southern-tier DOTs will announce its winning projects in coming weeks.
The contest recognizes the best transportation projects in three categories and sizes: Quality of Life/Community Development, Best Use of Innovation, and Under Budget. Nominated projects are grouped into three sizes – small for projects costing less than $25 million, medium for those between $26 million and $199 million, and large for those costing $200 million or more.
Transportation projects that state DOTs completed in 2015 were eligible to compete, and the nominations were judged by officials representing diverse industries within the transportation sector.
“Transportation projects require a major investment of time, money, expertise and labor,” said Paul Trombino, AASHTO’s current-year president and director of the Iowa DOT. “These awards recognize the many benefits of America’s investment, and they demonstrate how state transportation departments are improving safety, increasing mobility and enhancing the quality of life in rural and urban communities.”
Nationwide, a total of 40 state DOTs participated in this year’s competition and submitted a record-high 84 award nominations. Just for the MAASTO regional competition, eight state DOTs entered 17 transportation projects for consideration, and six projects took awards.
Here are the latest regional winners, by category. More detail on all them is available at the competition’s website.
Quality of Life/Community Development:
-The Michigan DOT won in the large projects competition for a new Grand River crossing built along M-231 that improved safety and connectivity for the communities of Crockery and Robinson in Ottawa County.
-For the medium-sized group, an Illinois DOT project built a multi-use roadway bridge above railroad tracks in Galesburg to separate trains from vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic, to increase travel safety and reduce noise throughout the city.
-And a project by the Ohio DOT in Cleveland’s that built a railroad bridge and extended West 73rd Street to add a multimodal path won in the small projects group.
Best Use of Innovation:
-The Wisconsin DOT won in the medium-sized group for its Interstate 794 Hoan Bridge and Lake Freeway reconstruction and repainting project in Milwaukee.
-The Missouri DOT won with a small project in Springfield that built a diverging diamond interchange.
-The Michigan DOT won with a medium-sized reconstruction and widening project on I-75 from Dixie Highway to Hess Road in Saginaw County.
Once all four regional state DOT associations announce their winners, the 12 regional projects that receive the highest overall scores will also compete for two national awards. One is a Grand Prize that will be determined by a panel of transportation experts, the other People’s Choice Award to be decided by online public votes.
AASHTO will announce the winners of both national awards Nov. 14 during its annual meeting in Boston. Each DOT that wins a national award will also receive a $10,000 cash prize for donation to a charity or scholarship program.