AASHTO Journal

Eight Projects From Five Western State DOTs Take Awards in ‘America’s Best’ Competition

Infrastructure projects by western-region state departments of transportation projects that restored essential highways after devastating landslides or improved safety for motorists and wildlife are among this year's first regional winners in the America's Transportation Awards competition.

In all, eight projects from five of states took prizes in varying categories, after the competition attracted 30 project nominations from 12 western states. Winners in the three remaining regions will be announced throughout the summer.

Sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the AAA motor club and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the competition recognizes excellence in transportation projects in three categories – Quality of Life/Community Development, Best Use of Technology and Innovation, and a new category for this year of Operations Excellence.

capitol0816.jpgMore details about projects nominated for the 2017 awards are available at the ATA competition website.

"Every project nominated in this competition represents the hard work and dedication of state DOTs across the country to meet the transportation needs of the communities we serve," said David Bernhardt, commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation and current AASHTO president.

Bernhardt added that for 10 consecutive years, this competition has "given state DOTs the recognition they deserve for providing the essential connections that keep people, goods and our economy moving forward."

Two state DOTs took home awards in the Quality of Life/Community Development category. The Nevada DOT won in the small-projects category – which includes work costing a total of less than $25 million – for its Cave Rock Tunnel Extension and Stormwater Enhancements project.

For the medium-sized category (projects costing between $25 million and $200 million), the Montana DOT won for its Kalispell Bypass-US 93 Alternate Route project.

Two DOTs won three prizes in the Best Use of Technology and Innovation category. The Idaho Transportation Department won for its small-category project, a U.S. 20 Thornton Interchange. The Colorado DOT won in both the medium-sized category for its SH 9 Colorado River South Wildlife and Safety project, while its US 36 Express Lanes project won in the large-sized category (projects costing more than $200 million).

Three separate state DOTs took awards in the Operations Excellence category. The Idaho department's six-month Elk City Landside Cleanup effort won in the small category. Colorado's I-70 Mountain Express Lane work took the prize in the medium category and the Texas DOT won for its large-sized SH 99/Grand Parkway Segments F&G project.

Once all the regional winners are selected, the three highest-scoring projects from each region will advance to a "Top 12" competition round. They will compete for a national Grand Prize that is determined by a panel of judges, and a People's Choice Award that the public selects through online voting.

Each of the top two national prizes also come with a $10,000 check, for the state DOT to donate to a charity or scholarship of its choosing. Winners of those top two awards will be announced at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Phoenix in September.

Questions regarding this article may be directed to editor@aashtojournal.org.

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