It was the transportation industry’s equivalent to Oscar Night at the Connecticut Convention Center Oct. 19, 2008, as the prestigious America’s Transportation Award Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award were presented during a special ceremony at the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials Annual Meeting.
Ten projects were in the running for the top prizes.
Virginia and Maryland were honored with the national Grand Prize – selected by a panel of expert judges – for the construction of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which spans the Potomac River connecting the two states. When complete, the $2.47 billion project will unclog one of the worst bottlenecks on Interstate 95. The old six-lane bridge is being replaced with a modern 12-lane structure that will separate local and through traffic, has room for future mass transit, and ties communities together with hiker/biker trails.
"The Wilson Bridge project is a testimony to innovation and engineering and to the spirit and dedication of the public and private sector, men and women who make transportation happen," said David Ekern, Virginia transportation commissioner. "I could not be more proud."
"Achieving success with this $2.47 billion program demanded finding new and better ways of delivering transportation infrastructure to America," said Maryland Transportation Secretary John Porcari. "This former ‘magnet for controversy’ has become a source of pride for everyone concerned."
During the past two months, more than 55,000 votes were cast online for the People’s Choice Award. The prize went to Mississippi’s St. Louis Bay Bridge, which collected an overwhelming number of the popular votes.
After Hurricane Katrina destroyed the original bridge in August 2005, the Mississippi Department of Transportation moved expeditiously to replace the structure that carries U.S. 90 between Henderson Point and Bay St. Louis. MDOT proceeded with the state’s first ever "design/build" contract. The $267 million replacement bridge was completed on time by November 2007.
"We salute our many partners in the reconstruction process, and most importantly the resilient people of Bay St. Louis, Henderson Point, and the surrounding Gulf Coast communities," said MDOT Executive Director Larry "Butch" Brown. "This beautiful bridge is just one step in rebuilding their lives better than before."
The competition – sponsored by AAA, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) – celebrated state department of transportation projects in all four regions of the country. More than 40 transportation projects competed according to size in three categories: "Innovative Management,""On Time," and "On Budget."
Find out more at www.americastransportationaward.org