Ten Best American Transportation Projects Vie for top Honors

Aug 31, 2011, 11:44 ET from American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

States to Compete for National Grand Prize and People's Choice Award

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- All across America, transportation projects are saving taxpayers money while introducing innovative ideas and strategies to end those unbearable commutes and make our drives safer. Some of those projects will now have the chance to earn major bragging rights.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are today announcing the top 10 finalists in the 2011 America's Transportation Awards competition and are releasing a new video showcasing these outstanding projects.

The 10 finalists received the highest number of overall points during four regional contests, representing each part of the country. A total of 40 projects from 29 states were judged in three categories: "On Time", "Under Budget", and "Innovative Management."

The 10 projects are now competing for the America's Transportation Awards' Grand Prize, selected by a panel of judges. The People's Choice Award will be decided by popular vote of the general public. Online voting begins today and will continue through Oct. 7, 2011 at www.AmericasTransportationAward.org. The two awards will be presented Oct. 16 at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Detroit.

"Each of these 10 projects truly exemplifies all that is right with our national transportation system," said John Horsley, executive director of AASHTO. "The America's Transportation Award competition allows us to honor and recognize projects that save taxpayers money, offer new and innovative ideas to the industry that help every driver, and make our commutes easier and safer."

Top 10 finalists:

  1. Florida – I-10 to I-95 Interchange: "The Big I": Finishing six months ahead of schedule, the Florida Department of Transportation reconstructed the I-10/I-95 interchange, a project that consisted of 17 bridges, 21 ramps, and 25 lane miles built over and around traffic moving through one of the busiest interchanges in the state. Countless taxpayer dollars and commuting headaches were saved.
  2. Kansas – K-23 Practical Improvement project: Time and taxpayer money were saved when the Kansas Department of Transportation used practical design strategies to rebuild 17 miles of a two-lane road in western Kansas. The project removed deteriorated asphalt and widened the road as well.
  3. Kentucky – Newtown Pike Extension: In order to accommodate the 2010 World Equestrian Games, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet had to extend the Newtown Pike in a very short period of time. The project, designed to improve traffic flow into downtown Lexington, finished on schedule, two full weeks before the Games, even with unanticipated work added to the project.
  4. Massachusetts – Phillipston Heavy Lift Bridge Replacement: This $3.3 million project by the Massachusetts Highway Department became the fastest bridge replacement in state history when it used Self Propelled Modular Transporters for bridge replacement for the first time.
  5. Michigan – The Fix on I-196 project: This $40 million project by the Michigan Department of Transportation used more than 100 community meetings and significant public partnership efforts that enabled the completion of the two-mile segment of I-196 near Grand Rapids during a single construction season.
  6. Montana – Shiloh Road: This project by the Montana Department of Transportation improved safety and mobility along a 4.5-mile stretch of Shiloh Road, formerly a quiet dirt road that had grown into a critical commuter corridor. The $25 million project kept the road open with very few detours and delays.
  7. New Hampshire – Hampton Toll Plaza – Conversion to Open Road Tolling: This $17 million New Hampshire Department of Transportation project to convert to open-road tolling was competed on a fast-tracked, 16-month schedule, after it was determined that the 16-lane toll plaza did not have adequate capacity to handle seasonal traffic demands.
  8. South Carolina – Plans Online project: South Carolina Department of Transportation saved time and taxpayer money by creating a database of 1.9 million digitally scanned image files of roadway construction plans, available at the click of a button online. This 13-year project replaced the old, cumbersome method of reviewing plans in person.
  9. Utah – SR-171 3500 South Reconstruction: The $41 million Utah Department of Transportation project rebuilt 1.2 miles of urban arterial, converting it from a 5-lane road into an 8-lane boulevard that serves as the major east/west transportation corridor for the Salt Lake Valley without disrupting local businesses.
  10. Washington – Operation I-5 Partnership to Relieve Congestion: The Washington State Department of Transportation encouraged a coalition of organizers to join forces to creatively solve the traffic problem that stretched for miles through a military base nestled between Tacoma and Olympia, an area seeing robust growth in economy and population.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is the "Voice of Transportation" representing State Departments of Transportation in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association serving as a catalyst for excellence in transportation. Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/aashtospeaks.

SOURCE American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials