Project of the Year: Structures less than $2 million

Improvements to the Plainsboro Pond Dam

Township of Plainsboro, New Jersey

Managing Agency
Township of Plainsboro
Primary Consultant:
CME Associates
Primary Contractor:
Scafar Contracting

The Plainsboro Pond Dam was built around the turn of the 20th Century with the primary purpose of impounding water to power a gristmill. Today, the dam serves its original purpose of water impoundment, in addition to providing an aesthetic area for recreational purposes and providing stormwater management upstream of Cranbury Brook.

The dam also supports Maple Avenue, a major collector roadway serving the Township and adjoining communities and is the centerpiece for an existing park extending the entire length of the pond.

As a result of biennial dam safety inspection reports, the municipality was directed by the State to upgrade the facility to current standards. The final design plan consisted of an outlet modification, which essentially required the removal and replacement of the existing bridge and outlet control structure in order to pass the design flow through the dam.

The construction of the dam necessitated the removal of the numerous large mature oak trees that lined Maple Avenue. Consequently, State regulations prohibited trees on the embankment of the dam. The Township staff met with residents regarding the removal of the trees. A unique and innovative landscape plan was prepared and, after obtaining State approval, the pleasant treed vista important to area residents was recaptured.

A lighted concrete fishing pier with a stone wall and railing was installed to allow residents as well as fishermen use of the deck and to access the deeper portions of the pond which otherwise could only be reached by boat. With respect to storm drainage management, the pond level was lowered utilizing two existing deteriorated slide gates in an effort to provide additional storage in the pond and minimize impacts to the construction area and local residents due to flooding.

The existing gas line was previously hung from the concrete bridge structure. The new location of the gas lines within the bridge deck and sidewalk was also constructed so as not to interfere with the storm drainage flow and to alleviate the potential for objects hitting and damaging the line.

The dam has been improved in a manner in which it can functionally serve as a storm drainage management tool for the Cranbury Basin and a critical line in Plainsboro Township's vehicular and pedestrian circulation system.

Project of the Year: Structures from $2 million to $10 million

Cherry Crest Reservoir and Park

City of Bellevue, Washington

Managing Agency:
City of Bellevue
Primary Consultant:
RH2 Engineering, Inc.
Primary Contractor:
C. A. Carey Corp.

Is it a water reservoir or a park? Actually, the project is both-a 3-million gallon water reservoir built mostly underground, cleverly hidden beneath sports courts and a plaza and surrounded by play equipment, picnic tables, and walking paths.

Studies conducted in 1993 and 1995 showed that the original two million-gallon water reservoir was structurally deficient. Because these deficiencies were significant, the Utilities Department determined that the most cost-effective way to ensure that the reservoir would remain operational following a major earthquake was to replace the original reservoir with a new structure.

An important initial step in the design process was to obtain input from the Cherry Crest community. The community expressed a strong interest in enhancing the existing mini-park. Renderings of the proposed reservoir and a site plan showed plans to minimize impacts to adjacent neighbors and increase the amount of park space.

In order to maximize the use of the site, the reservoir was partially buried. The lower section of the reservoir was buried all around, as was the north half of the upper section and a portion of the roof. The reservoir roof is used as a surface for a tennis court, half-size basketball court, and picnic area. Because the reservoir was partially buried, the foundation, floor, shell, and roof were constructed out of cast-in-place concrete. Post-tensioning concrete construction was utilized for the reservoir roof to save on materials and costs.

The City's Utilities and Parks project managers worked closely with the consultant and contractor to incorporate the park into the reservoir and the reservoir into the park. The newly enhanced park includes fencing and sport court provisions, an irrigation system, picnic tables, and playing surfaces and equipment.

Construction of the reservoir required approximately 6,000 man-hours. No lost-time injuries occurred during the construction for either the contractor's workforce or any of their subcontractors. The construction team worked 15 or more feet above ground while forming and tying rebar on the walls, constructing the interior piping, and sealing the reservoir interior. Fall protection procedures were rigorously enforced on the job site.

The highlight of the project was the remarkable level of cooperation amongst all the Cherry Crest partners. Whether value engineering the project, teaming up to maintain harmony among the neighborhood during construction, or working together to add artwork to the project as it neared completion, the team demonstrated a cooperative spirit throughout the entire project.

Project of the Year: Structures more than $10 million

Anne Arundel County Circuit Courthouse

Annapolis, Maryland

Managing Agency:
Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works
Primary Consultant:
Spillis Candela & Partners
Primary Contractor:
C.E.R., Inc. General Contractor

The project is a new, five-story, 275,000 gross square foot courts facility to house the Circuit Court of Anne Arundel County and associated support spaces. The site is two-plus acres and occupies an entire, irregularly shaped city block.

The existing buildings onsite included the historic 1824 structure, an addition to that facility built in 1952, several smaller buildings that contained support functions, and a surface parking lot for the courthouse employees. Since the courthouse needed to remain operational during its replacement, the project was constructed in two phases.

Phase I was the construction of the new courts facility. After its completion, there was just one weekend for the planned move-in, where occupants from the existing 1952 courthouse were relocated into the new facility.

This was followed by the demolition of the 1952 courthouse structure to clear the way for construction of Phase II, which added space for the clerk of the court, state's attorney, sheriff's offices, and land records office. The completed buildings connect to the historic 1824 building, which was also fully restored, concurrent with the project.

The design of the new facility uses glass walls and skylights to break the structure into visually smaller pieces. In addition, a floor of the building was moved below street level so that the skyline in the historic city would not be significantly altered.

Thirteen state-of-the-art circuit courtrooms and four masters' hearing rooms, as well as related chambers, offices, and support functions make up the complex's floor plan.

Safety on the project was a top priority by all parties. The contractor conducted weekly safety meetings, termed "tool box talks." These weekly discussions of safety topics assisted in increasing the workforce's awareness of jobsite hazards and served as a constant reinforcement of basic safework principles.

Due to its prominent location in the Annapolis Historic District, strict adherence was demanded to the guidelines of the Historic Preservation Committee (HPC), a city of Annapolis agency whose mission is to maintain the city's historic architectural integrity. The design for the new circuit courthouse went through 14 separate, formal reviews and approvals with the HPC to blend the new structure's design into the existing historic area.

Project of the Year: Environment less than $2 million

Ellicott Creek Trailway Extension

Town of Amherst, New York

Managing Agency:
Town of Amherst
Primary Consultant:
URS Greiner Consultants, Inc.
Primary Contractor:
Visone Construction Company

The Ellicott Creek Trailway Extension Project provides recreational space and environmental preservation through the creation of a trail and pond located centrally in the Town of Amherst adjacent to other various recreational facilities. The project's main component was the construction of over 8400 lineal feet of 10-foot wide asphalt recreation path connecting to the existing Town of Amherst Ellicott Creek Trailway.

The project also included the creation of a handicapped-accessible pond/wetland area to be used for fishing, passive recreation, and to provide a scenic vista for trailway users. Other project components included the construction of three lighted tennis courts, expansion of the existing parking lot including security lighting, the construction of a handicapped-accessible restroom and water fountain, and landscaping with numerous plantings.

During construction, a temporary bulletin board was constructed at the trailhead to inform residents of construction activities. The board included drawings and descriptions of the proposed project. After construction, a permanent community bulletin board was built detailing the new trailway system and adjacent facilities and related information.

During construction, erosion protection and sediment control was implemented throughout the site. The fishing pond/wetland area was created to provide several needs, one of which was to provide natural drainage for the surrounding area, enhance irrigation, and prevent flooding.

The trailway crosses an existing flood control channel. Particular design considerations were implemented to allow for handicap access while ensuring the floodwater flow was not impaired. The pathway construction was scheduled to ensure flooding would not occur.

The sanitary sewer connection for the new restrooms at the Trailhead required a 60-foot trenchless bore under North Forest Road. This requirement was determined by the Erie County Highway Department as they had just completed road reconstruction two years earlier. The bore was performed with minimal ground disturbance and no interruption to vehicular traffic or trailway users.

The primary contractor held weekly internal safety meetings to ensure that the safety program was site and task specific for the Ellicott Creek extension project. With over 2,000 man-hours on the project, there were no reported incidents of lost time injury.

Project of the Year: Environment from $2 million to $10 million

Salt Valley Relief Trunk Sewer

City of Lincoln, Nebraska

Managing Agency:
City of Lincoln Department of Public Works and Utilities
Primary Consultant:
Montgomery Watson
Primary Contractor:
Garney Companies, Inc.

Through a planning process dating back to 1995, the City of Lincoln evaluated numerous alternatives to improve service along the route of the existing Salt Valley Trunk Sewer and to serve new growth. The City's decision was to design and construct a new relief sewer, known as the Salt Valley Relief Trunk Sewer, to parallel the existing system.

The new 78-inch diameter line parallels an existing 60-inch line installed in the 1960s. The new configuration allows the 60-inch line to be dedicated to serving just existing flows in the lower basin. The 78-inch line is dedicated to carry the balance of existing flows, as well as future increases due to development to the year 2020.

The primary environmental consideration was the protection of Antelope Creek and nearby Salt Creek from the impacts of construction. Antelope Creek was crossed with an inverted siphon, requiring a 15-foot deep excavation across the entire width of the channel and into the steep banks. The contractor's challenge was to maintain a large excavation while allowing streamflow to pass. This was successfully accomplished by a combination of cofferdams and sheet piles. Minimum impact on the creek occurred and the banks were restored to a more stable condition than existed before the project.

The use of electromagnetic instrumentation to identify the limits of a buried streambank protection is believed to be the first use of this method for this type of application. This method has since been used on other projects in the area to provide a reconnaissance level survey prior to planning the detailed geotechnical investigation.

Due to the depth of the trench and the relative positions of the workers, line-of-sight communication using hand signals was often not possible on the project. To address this situation, the contractor provided both the equipment operator and the pipe alignment crew with wireless headsets. All staff were able to work hands-free and the background noise was essentially eliminated. This method of communication resulted in a more accurate control of grade, higher production, and a safer working environment.

The July 1, 1999 target completion date was met despite working through winter conditions and a wetter than normal spring.

Project of the Year: Environment more than $10 million

South Bay Ocean Outfall

City of San Diego, California

Managing Agency:
City of San Diego Metropolitan Wastewater Department
Primary Consultant:
Parsons Engineering Science, Inc.
Primary Contractor:
Traylor Brothers/Obayashi, Joint Venture

The South Bay Ocean Outfall is a facility that is jointly owned by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) and the City of San Diego. The outfall currently discharges treated effluent from the IBWC's International Wastewater Treatment Plant, and will eventually discharge any treated effluent that is not reused from the City of San Diego's South Bay Water Reclamation Plant.

The outfall includes an underground tunnel from the western terminus of the South Bay Land Outfall to roughly 13,500 feet offshore, where it surfaces and continues along the sea floor ending in a Y-shaped structure and two diffuser legs approximately 3.5 miles offshore at a depth of about 95 feet. It will have an average daily flow capacity of 174 million gallons per day (mgd) and a peak flow capacity of 333 mgd.

The project pushed the "state-of-the-art" envelope for difficult tunneling conditions. Among the unique technical challenges were difficult geology under a maximum of 7 bars (220 feet of hydrostatic head) for unprecedented distances (19,000 lineal feet). No other tunnel in the world has this combination of high pressure and long distance, not to mention difficult geology (ranging from gravels, cobbles, and boulders to sands, silts, and clays).

The project design incorporated a universal tunnel boring machine (TBM) and a unique one-pass segmented liner. The TBM and the precision one-pass liner have received domestic and international attention from the tunneling industry for advances in machine and liner design.

The tunnel crossed numerous seismic faults, both active and dormant. In order to address this, the reinforced precast concrete segments that make up the tunnel needed to allow for lateral displacement or movement and required greater strength in these areas. This was accomplished by a design which utilized high-strength longitudinal bolts and grout-injected, larger-diameter longitudinal bolt sleeves in the fault crossing areas.

The project achieved four world records: the largest victaulic couplings (144-inch); the largest bonneted knife gate valves (144-inch); the longest screw conveyor (125 feet); and the largest diameter-driven casing (14 feet). In addition, the tunnel is the highest pressure tunnel ever built in North America and the third highest pressure tunnel ever built in the world.

The project was completed well under budget, so much so that the City of San Diego was able to return $8 million to the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Treasury.

Project of the Year: Disaster or Emergency Construction/Repair from $2 million to $10 million

91st Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant Pipeline Rehabilitation Project

City of Phoenix, Arizona

Managing Agency:
City of Phoenix Water Services Department
Primary Consultant:
Brown and Caldwell
Primary Contractor:
Insituform Technologies, Inc.

The City of Phoenix's 91st Avenue WWTP Pipeline Rehabilitation Project represents one of the most complicated and challenging pipeline rehabilitation projects ever attempted in the U.S.

A crisis situation was discovered at the plant, which treats an average sewage flow of 162 mgd from the cities of Phoenix, Glendale, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Tempe, Arizona. Fifteen large-diameter reinforced-concrete pipelines (RCPs) carrying primary clarifier influent and effluent flow inside the facility were found to have wasted away because of hydrogen sulfide corrosion.

Since traditional pipeline replacement methods would be time-consuming, very costly, and would create a high risk of rupturing adjacent pipelines during excavation, the design team chose to rehabilitate the pipelines rather than replace them.

The primary consultant designed a project to rehabilitate the pipelines by "pushing the envelope" of existing Cured-in-Place Pipe (CIPP) technology, which had never been used in pipelines with such large diameters that contain as many short-radius bends (20-foot radii).

The final design included CIPP liners designed for both fully deteriorated pipes (thicker structural liner) and partially deteriorated pipes (thinner corrosion protection liner) in a single CIPP insertion. This technique allowed the hydraulic criteria to be met, and also reduced the potential for excessive wrinkles at the short radius bends.

The ability to use CIPP in large-diameter, short-radius bends (60-inch diameter with 20-foot radius) is now, as a result of this project, a proven technology, with 15 successful insertions without a single failure on this project.

Overcoming numerous technical intricacies and construction challenges, the team succeeded in completing the project below the $9 million budget and more than two months ahead of schedule.

Project of the Year: Disaster or Emergency Construction/Repair more than $10 million

San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency's Flood Protection Restoration Project

City of Stockton and San Joaquin County, California

Managing Agency:
San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency
Primary Consultants:
Montgomery Watson; HDR Engineering, Inc.
Primary Contractors:
On Grade Construction; DD-M Crane & Rigging; Ford Construction Company; Roy E. Ladd, Inc.; Teichert Construction; REMCON, Inc.; DSS Engineering Contractors; Viking Construction Co.; AM Stephens Construction Co. Inc.; Syblon-Reid Company; BENCO Contractors

In 1995, the crisis was clear for the Stockton metropolitan area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had just restudied portions of the City of Stockton and the adjoining areas of San Joaquin County and found that almost 300,000 people were at risk from flooding.

Since the newly identified flood risk affected both City and County residents, the City of Stockton and San Joaquin County came together in May 1995 to form a Joint Powers Authority named the San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency. Creation of this JPA provided the governance structure, participation by key entities, and fast-track decision-making power necessary to address the Flood Protection Restoration Project at the local level so that flood protection could be restored on a fast-track schedule.

Construction activities were performed concurrently with planning and design activities to meet the fast-track delivery requirements of the overall program. A total of 15 different prime construction contracts were required to complete the work. In addition to streamlining the coordination and management of the work, breaking the construction effort up into small pieces allowed many small, local firms to qualify as contractors.

While the majority of the project involved raising and rehabilitating existing levees, the team did construct new flood control improvements along previously unleveed streams and waterways. These waterways contained high quality riparian habitat and the team was faced with the challenge of protecting and enhancing the existing riparian environmental while constructing improvements that would provide the necessary level of protection.

The team's solution to this challenge was to design and construct levees that were set back from the stream bank leaving the existing riparian zone undisturbed. By constructing set-back levees, the team was able to re-establish a riparian zone and was also able to construct special habitat for the giant garter snake, a federally listed endangered species.

Safety performance throughout the construction phase was flawless. There were no lost time injuries during the construction phase, which required approximately 600,000 man-hours.

From concept to completion, the project was finished in just over three years. This was at least five times faster than the normal federal process.

Project of the Year: Historical Restoration/Preservation less than $2 million

Comprehensive Downtown Revitalization

City of Junction City, Kansas

Managing Agency:
City of Junction City
Primary Consultant:
Brent Bowman & Associates
Primary Contractor:
Smoky Hill, LLC General Contractors

Over the last several years, the Junction City, Kansas, community has shown a renewed interest in the historic structures of the downtown district and the availability of retail merchants. As a result of the citizens' input and professional advice, improvements were recommended in order to create an inviting downtown image and to designate a downtown historic district.

The streetscape portion of the revitalization program, a $914,700 project, removed all of the deteriorated planters and installed new concrete sidewalks, trees, tree grates, irrigation system, 140 period lamp posts, trash receptacles, and benches. In addition, street signage was coordinated to eliminate multiple poles, and overhead traffic signals were painted to blend with the new lampposts.

Owner participation was vital to the façade portion of the Downtown Revitalization Program. Property owners received a $10,000 grant, provided they contributed $2,500 in matching funds for façade improvements. The grant emphasis was on metal removal, windows, doors, awnings, stone cleaning, and signage.

Removing all metal façades from the buildings and exposing the original limestone was a great milestone for the project. Advice was sought from the Kansas State Historical Society for a cleaning process that would be the least destructive to the limestone and the most environmentally friendly. The removal of the metal and cleaning of the limestone significantly improved the façades and entrances.

Highlights of the downtown façade project include the following:

* Adoption of the Mainstreet Guidelines provided assistance to property owners and City staff in order to protect the visual appearance of the downtown structures and improved the overall image of the downtown area.
* Improvements to the individual structures created an inviting atmosphere that has induced shoppers to the downtown area and provided a means to recruit other businesses to the area.
* Enhanced parking will provide space needed for shoppers.

Not only was the downtown revitalization project a success in terms of the visual appearance of downtown Junction City, the project also created economic opportunities for residents and the City, such as:

* New businesses will increase the sales tax.
* Aesthetic environment will encourage changes in the economic image of the area.
* New businesses have created jobs for low- to middle-income residents that live in the downtown area.

Project of the Year: Historical Restoration/Preservation $2 million to $10 million

Friendship Trailbridge

Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, Florida

Managing Agency:
Hillsborough County Public Works Department
Primary Consultant:
Wade-Trim, Inc.
Primary Contractor:
The Hendrey Corporation

For more than 40 years, the 13,770-foot-long Gandy Bridge that connected Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties served as a vital link between the two most populous counties in the Tampa Bay region. However, tremendously increasing traffic volumes and the outdated functionality of the bridge facilitated the need for replacement by the Department of Transportation.

In early 1997, the DOT completed a new bridge spanning Tampa Bay. Upon completion of the new span, the state agency planned to demolish the old Gandy Bridge and convert 1500 feet at either end into fishing piers. A group of citizens with a unique vision formed the "Committee to Save the Gandy" with the idea to convert the entire bridge and its unique fishing "catwalks" into the world's longest recreation trail for fishing, jogging, bicycling and skating across a treasured national estuary.

As a result of the campaign, the DOT agreed to cease with the planned demolition of the bridge if the County governments would agree to take over ownership and responsibility for the bridge.

Converting the bridge to a trail involved four key components: bridge handrail, concrete spall repair, a fishing catwalk, and decorative bridge lighting.

The handrail was required because the existing concrete traffic barrier was only 33 inches tall. The selected design placed aluminum on top of the barrier to a height of 54 inches. This provided the most efficient use of the existing concrete traffic barrier and allowed the traffic barrier to remain in place so that the bridge maintained its original architectural charm.

The 43-year-old bridge deck required only 120 cubic feet of latex modified mortar for spall repairs. These repairs consisted of sounding, chipping, sandblasting, and hand repair to match the existing surface.

The contractor proposed the use of steel beams for support instead of timber to speed up construction of the timber catwalk. Also, the Counties elected to place nearly 30 light poles to fully light the entire north side of the bridge.

On December 11, 1999, a gala event was held to open the Friendship Trailbridge. Following the ceremony, more than 3,000 people created a human chain that spanned the entire 2.63 miles. This "Hands Across the Bay" event symbolized the true spirit of partnership between Florida Department of Transportation, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, and the Friendship Trail Corporation that saved the old Gandy Bridge and converted it to the world's longest Overwater Recreational Trail.

Project of the Year: Historical Restoration/Preservation more than $10 million

Kansas City Union Station Redevelopment Project

City of Kansas City, Missouri

Managing Agency:
Union Station Assistance Corporation
Primary Consultant:
Primary Contractor:

The successful redevelopment of the 800,000 square-foot Union Station was a $250 million project with funding coming from a variety of sources including private philanthropic, federal, state, and a significant contribution from local taxpayers.

One of the most important milestones in the success of the project occurred on November 5, 1996. Kansas City area voters approved the first bistate taxing district in the history of the nation. Missourians and Kansans reached across the state line and approved a 1/8 cent retail sales tax to raise $118 million for the restoration of Union Station.

An example of the project leadership's value engineering is shown in that the building's structural repairs were bid at $6.1 million and were performed for approximately $3.2 million. This was accomplished through intensive management of specific design solutions to typical problems.

For example, rather than tear out and remove concrete decks below the Station's midways, the construction team supplemented the decks with steel beams at mid-span points to decrease the load distribution.

The ornate ceiling moldings were so damaged that the majority had to be replaced or repaired. The task was especially challenging in the Grand Hall as its ceiling height is 95 feet high. Subcontractors worked on a deck 82 feet above the floor on complex scaffolding.

Adaptive reuse of an 800,000 square-foot building built for the needs of early 20th Century train travel into a 21st Century community space offered hundreds of challenges. One such challenge involved Science City, an interactive science museum and tenant of Union Station, which is primarily located in a glass-enclosed addition to the west of the Station's north wing.

The final design included a glass addition that was "placed" next to the original exterior midway wall, thereby making the old exterior wall of the building the new interior wall of the addition. The goal was to keep intact as much of the original structure as possible, while allowing for the needs of the museum guests. The roof of the addition was designed to recall the train sheds that were previously located on the east and west sides of the North Waiting Room.

The newly-refurbished Station is home to an intermodal transportation center that is the focus of an intermodal transportation district. The facilities serve current as well as future needs of the community. In addition, the transportation center links Union Station to nearby employment and entertainment centers by way of a climate-controlled pedestrian link. The Station also houses Science City, three theatres, several restaurants, and retail shops.

Project of the Year: Transportation less than $2 million

Bayley Street Corridor Improvements

City of Wichita, Kansas

Managing Agency:
City of Wichita
Primary Consultant:
HNTB Corporation
Primary Contractor:
Cornejo & Sons Incorporated

The Bayley Street Corridor Improvements project is the initial project in a series that will alleviate vehicle delays caused by railroad operations in Wichita. It is the result of combined state, city, community, and railroad efforts.

The improvements are unique in several ways. They create a safer environment by eliminating railroad grade crossings, eliminate vehicle and rail traffic traveling adjacent to each other on Bayley Street, and create a safe buffer by providing a fence separating the railroad from pedestrians. The project creates a valuable community resource, a linear park along the railroad.

The project enhanced the environment through extensive landscaping, scrubs, and tree plantings. Soil erosion protection was accomplished by placing hay bales adjacent to inlets to prevent sediment runoff into the Arkansas River.

The project will have long-term environmental benefits through the reduction of noise pollution. Several grade crossing signals were eliminated and the grade crossings remaining had a directional signal horn installed. The directional signal horn focuses the signal sound down each street, which eliminates the need for the train to blow its horn that spreads widely throughout the adjacent neighborhood.

Design of the project involved several unusual accomplishments. Grades throughout the project were very flat which resulted in difficulties in designing drainage. Challenges for the drainage included a reverse siphon under the railroad tracks for a cross street drainage system. Another challenge was posed by the fire station adjacent to the project. It required the creation of an alternate exit from the station and modeling of the fire truck turning path.

Additional project accomplishments include the incorporation of an unusually large number of project elements (paving, grading, fencing, lighting, landscaping, irrigation, and drainage) constructed within an extremely narrow work zone. Complicating the construction was an active railroad line running the full length of the project for the period from July to December.

Safety was a very important factor throughout the project construction, especially when considering the narrow work zone and the fact that the work zone included an active railroad line. There were no lost-time accidents or injuries on the project.

Project of the Year: Transportation from $2 million to $10 million

Anderson Avenue Corridor Improvement Project

City of Manhattan, Kansas

Managing Agency:
City of Manhattan
Primary Consultant:
HWS Consulting Group, Inc.
Primary Contractor:
Bayer Construction Company

Anderson Avenue is the major east-west arterial street running through the heart of Manhattan, Kansas. As a result of the City's growth, the avenue has carried an ever-increasing amount of traffic. This overall increase in traffic, coupled with several particularly high-density traffic areas, necessitated improvements to a 3,400-foot portion of Anderson Avenue.

The goals of the effort were to:

* Increase the capacity and efficiency of the roadway.
* Improve the safety for the users of the roadway, including drivers of motor vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
* Reduce the surface flooding that occurred to the roadway and surrounding properties during intense rainfalls.

Designing and constructing a facility that has already proven to be widely accepted and appreciated by the general public met these goals. A massive, precast reinforced concrete box culvert was installed along about 70 percent of the project length. The existing four lanes were widened to five lanes. This widening provided the space for a continuous left turn lane, dedicated at the intersections and two-way in the mid-block sections, that runs the entire 3,400 feet.

All traffic signals, including those at the mid-block pedestrian crossings, are now operated by modern electronic equipment that is coordinated by a master controller. All the intersections within the scope of the project, as well as three other major intersections leading to this portion of Anderson Avenue, are part of the coordinated system.

An extraordinary effort was made to protect historical elements adjacent to the project. Landscaping was a very important feature and was planned with the City Parks and Recreation Department and officials at Kansas State University. Two hundred forty trees were planted to replace the 180 that had to be removed. Approximately 2,900 feet of limestone veneer retaining walls were constructed to enhance the landscape design.

The construction team took great pains to ensure that safety was maintained. This attention to safety during construction had the following demonstrable benefits:

* There were no fatalities and no major accidents during construction.
* There was a lower rate of traffic accidents during construction than prior to construction.
* There were no pedestrian accidents during construction.
* There were no lost time accidents on the project for any of the entities involved.

Project of the Year: Transportation more than $10 million

Tasman West Light Rail Project

Santa Clara County, California

Managing Agency:
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority
Primary Consultant:
O'Brien Kreitzberg/URS
Primary Contractor:
R&L Brosamer, Inc.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's (VTA) Tasman West Light Rail Project was one full year ahead of schedule and within the $327.8 million budget when it opened for service on December 20, 1999. The project, an extension of the region's existing 21-mile light rail system, travels through the heart of the Silicon Valley, linking residential areas to major employers such as Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, and Lockheed-Martin.

Tasman West features 7.6 miles of double- and single-track continuously-welded rail on concrete tie and ballast. Twelve new stations were constructed, including a multi-modal transit center in Downtown Mountain View that connects the light rail with Caltrain's commuter train, VTA buses and shuttles, and private company employee shuttles. The project also included three bridge structures carrying trackways over highways, retaining and sound walls, and a park-and-ride facility.

The original schedule called for Tasman West to be completed by January 1, 2001. Despite various obstacles, the project was completed one year ahead of schedule and within budget. A major factor in completing Tasman West ahead of schedule was the ability of the project team to accelerate the bid schedule on key contracts. By working with city agencies and obtaining advance approvals, most issues were settled without delay to the bid schedule. In many cases, bid packages were advertised months earlier than planned.

Project designers and contractors were responsible for saving millions of dollars and months of work through innovative design and construction techniques. The Evelyn Undercrossing is one example. For passengers to access the light rail line at the Evelyn Station, a tunnel underneath the Caltrain tracks was planned. The typical construction method for such a tunnel is a shoofly design, which would require a set of rail tracks to be constructed parallel to the Caltrain tracks.

Instead, the project team came up with an innovative plan that involved working over 24- to 36-hour spans during six weekends. The team drilled 35-foot caisson piles at the site, removed one of the existing Caltrain tracks, placed a precast bridge deck on the caissons, and replaced the tracks, avoiding the shoofly altogether. This alternative saved the project $1 million and eight months on the schedule.

VTA's mission includes providing a transportation system that, "increases access and mobility, reduces congestion, improves the environment and supports economic development, thereby enhancing the quality of life."

Tasman West is doing just that.