TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – Two projects spear headed by the Missouri Department of Transportation earned awards at a regional competition for community development and operations excellence.
In total eight outstanding transportation projects from five mid-America states were honored in the fourth, and final, of regional America’s Transportation Awards competition. The projects were recognized for major achievements, including: engaging small businesses through a “first of its kind” training program; replacing bridges to reconnect communities after major flooding; increasing mobility through a $2 billion overhaul of the most popular Amtrak route in the Midwest; and modernizing an aging freeway to improve safety and economic development.
The two projects from Missouri that earned recognition was “Route 65: The Rebuild” and “Ozark County North Fork River Bridge Replacements.” Both projects fell under the small category, meaning they cost less than $25 million — medium-sized projects cost between $25 million and $200 million while large-sized projects cost more than $200 million.
The rebuilding of Route 65 won recognition in the Quality of Life/Community Development category. To get the $7.9 million job done as quickly as possible, MoDOT closed Route 65 in each direction in short segments between interchanges. After just 42 days, drivers were able to get back to their normal commute on Route 65 and enjoy a modernized highway that better accommodates the growing number of people in Springfield.
The Ozark County North Fork River Bridge Replacements project won recognition for Operations Excellence. Heavy flooding in April 2017 followed by more rain in May caused two bridges to be washed away. MoDOT worked alert the community and plans to redesign the bridges quickly came together. Construction contracts were awarded in June 2017 and construction on both bridges (which totaled $5.86 million) completed by early October, allowing citizens to get back to their daily lives with greater safety and ease.
“State DOTs are committed to making America safer, better and stronger by improving connections between communities both large and small, urban and rural,” said John Schroer, president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Transportation. “The transportation projects in this competition are part of a national multimodal network that is moving millions of people and tons of goods where they need to go every day.”
The Mid America region winners are:
- Missouri Department of Transportation’s Route 65: The Rebuild (Quality of Life/Community Development, Small category)
- Michigan Department of Transportation’s I-94 Modernization Project—Advanced Bridges Phase I Small Business Enterprise (Quality of Life/Community Development, Medium category)
- Illinois Department of Transportation’s Chicago-St. Louis Passenger Rail Improvements (Quality of Life/Community Development, Large category)
- Missouri Department of Transportation’s Ozark County North Fork River Bridge Replacements (Operations Excellence, Small category)
- Ohio Department of Transportation’s Diverging Diamond Interchange (Operations Excellence, Small category)
- Michigan Department of Transportation’s US-23 Flex Route (Operations Excellence, Medium category)
- Indiana Department of Transportation’s I-70 Twin Bridges over State Road 121 (Best Use of Technology and Innovation, Small category)
- Illinois Department of Transportation’s Interstate 55 and Lake Shore Drive Interchange (Best Use of Technology and Innovation, Medium category)
These award winners are the last to be announced in the regional competition. The three highest-scoring projects from each region will earn a place on the list of “Top 12” projects. Those 12 projects will compete for the Grand Prize, selected by an independent panel of industry judges and the Socrata People’s Choice Award, which is chosen by the general public through online voting. The top two winners also receive $10,000 cash awards, to be donated to a charity or scholarship of the state DOT’s choosing. The Top 12 projects will be announced on Aug. 30, when online voting for the Socrata People’s Choice Award will begin. The winners of the top two awards will be announced Sept. 23 at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Atlanta.
Learn more about the nominees and the competition at www.AmericasTransportationAwards.org.
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.