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American Society of Civil Engineers announces finalists for Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award

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Media Contact(s):
Lynn Wallace (703) 295-6406; lwallace@asce.org

Friday, March 14, 2014

Reston, Va. – Innovative, resourceful, community-focused. These words embody the civil engineering projects that the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has selected as finalists for its 2014 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award (OCEA).

Each year, ASCE recognizes exemplary projects from around the world that contribute to the well-being of people and their communities, showcase the use of innovative materials and techniques, and demonstrate resourcefulness in the face of planning and design changes.

The 2014 OCEA finalists are:

  • Huey P. Long Bridge Widening Project (Jefferson Parish, La.) – Shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, Louisiana embarked on an unprecedented project to widen the historic Huey P. Long Bridge which spans the Mississippi River. The project included widening two narrow lanes in each direction to three lanes with shoulders, and major railroad modifications to allow for better management of rail and vehicle traffic. This mega four-phase project, which began in 2006 and was completed in 2012, brought together engineers who designed the bridge and developed the erection and complex span lifts plan, and contractors who put it all together. The structure serves one of the busiest ports in the U.S. and is the only freight rail bridge on the Mississippi that serves six Class 1 railroads.
  • I-15 Corridor Expansion Project (Utah County, Utah) – Like many interstates throughout the country, Interstate 15 in Utah County was deteriorating and needed to be updated. Congestion and population growth in the area demanded that the freeway be widened. The Utah Department of Transportation partnered with Provo River Constructors to widen 24 miles of freeway along I-15, added three interchanges and increased pavement design life from 30-40 years, with minimal lane closures. Completed in less than 35 months, the I-15 CORE expansion was the fastest billion dollar highway project in the history of the United States. Through efficient and effective budget management, $260 million was saved on the project and returned to the Utah legislature to be used on other projects.
  • Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier (New Orleans, La.) – In 2005, Hurricane Katrina generated an 18-foot storm surge that toppled levees and floodwalls, crippling the greater New Orleans area. The storm protection failures resulted in a public loss of confidence in the city’s hurricane and flood control systems. Recognizing the dire situation, Congress authorized the construction of a $14.4 billion Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, the keystone project of which is the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier. Nearly two miles long and 26 feet above nominal sea level, it is the largest design-build civil works project in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers history and the largest surge barrier of its kind in the world. The project team implemented advanced design and construction techniques and a management approach that streamlined project delivery and effectively addressed the numerous challenges associated with the project’s massive scale. As a result, on May 24, 2011– a mere two years after the start of physical construction – the surge barrier achieved its goal of 100-year-level storm protection.
  • Taizhou Bridge (Jiangsu Province, China) – As the world’s first long-span, three pylon, two main-span suspension bridge, the $400 million Taizhou Bridge is a pivotal component of a new $1.5 billion freeway network in Jiangsu Province, which will serve as a catalyst for further economic growth in the eastern part of China. A very high priority was given to environmental protection during the construction of the bridge. The project also resulted in the implementation of profound changes in the construction industry in China with respect to safety, quality and sustainability. Opened to traffic in November 2012, the bridge also succeeded in minimizing the impact on river hydraulics and ecology by reducing the number of bridge supports in the water and providing two main navigation channels to facilitate ship movements in the Yangtze River.
  • Tom Lantos Tunnels at Devil’s Slide (San Mateo County, Calif.) – Seeking to provide a safe and dependable highway on a coastal stretch of Highway 1 in California often closed due to recurring rockslides, construction began on two inland tunnels beneath San Pedro Mountain. The tunnels rest in one of the most complex geological settings in California. They are the first highway tunnels in California to be constructed using the New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM), a method that is able to adjust to a site’s changing ground conditions. Marking the first highway tunnels built in California since 1964, the twin tunnels are 9 meters wide, nearly 7 meters high and 1.3 kilometers long. Opened to traffic in March 2013, each tunnel also includes bicycle accessibility and a state-of-the-art safety and communications system.

In addition, ASCE has recognized the Mt. Carberry Landfill Leachate Siphon Project in Berlin, N.H., with a Special Award for Innovation and Resourcefulness in a Noteworthy Small Project. Demonstrating “outside the box” originality to solve a design challenge, the facility used an inverted leachate siphon to pump wastewater using no energy or moving parts. The project was completed approximately $200,000 under budget – two-thirds less than the cost for an alternate treatment project accomplishing the same objectives.

The winner of the 2014 OCEA Award will be announced at the Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Gala, March 20, 2014, in Arlington, Va.

Established by ASCE in 1960, previous OCEA winners have included the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant Ozone Upgrade and Expansion Project in San Diego; the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Washington, D.C.; and the Golden Gate Bridge Seismic Retrofit in San Francisco.

For more information on the awards program or for press passes to the 2014 OPAL Awards Gala, please contact Lynn Wallace by March 17 or call (703) 295-6406.

Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 145,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. ASCE’s 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, graded America’s cumulative GPA for infrastructure at a D+. The Report Card app for Apple and Android devices includes videos, interactive maps and info-graphics that tell the story behind the grades, as well as key facts for all 50 states. For more information, visit www.asce.org.

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