Washington, D.C. — Salt Lake City's Airport Light Rail extension was the most significant construction project of 2013, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) announced. As a result, the project's contractors, Stacy and Witbeck and Kiewit Western, was the Alliant Build America Grand Award winner, while 19 other firms received awards in various categories. The project also earned a merit award in the Marvin M. Black Partnering Excellence category and was recognized as an AGC in the Community Award winner.
"Projects like these reflect the qualities — elite skill, diligence and resolve — that have made the construction industry successful," said Paul Diederich, the association's president and president of Grand Forks, N.D.-based Industrial Builders Inc. "These contractors are setting the standard of excellence in our industry."
The Utah Transit Authority Airport TRAX project included a 6.2-mile light rail extension connecting the Salt Lake International Airport with downtown Salt Lake City, which developed a brand new gateway to the downtown area. The joint venture team of Stacy and Witbeck and Kiewit also shortened a viaduct for the existing Union Pacific Railroad's active mainline and UTA FrontRunner tracks, minimizing the impact for more than 120 business, organizations and residential communities near the construction alignment. The project was completed ahead of the 2015 scheduled completion date and under the initial $250 million cost projections.
The project also won the AGC Charities' AGC in the Community Award for the venture partners' in-depth community outreach program that created a long-term connection with local businesses and the community at-large. Field crews collected money for residents at Freedom Landing — a local transitional housing facility for veterans — for a full Thanksgiving dinner, as well as new community room furniture and a big-screen TV. Stacy and Witbeck and Kiewit employees also adopted local West High School, which primarily serves low-income students, and Neighborhood Youth Works, a youth guidance program.
"In the construction industry, there's no greater sense of fulfillment than when a project makes a real difference in people's lives," said Jim Clemens, chairman of AGC Charities and chairman emeritus of Philadelphia, Pa.-based Clemens Construction Co. "These projects are building better communities and better lives."
The Alliant Build America Awards highlight the nation's most significant construction projects. A panel of judges, representing all areas of construction, evaluated an impressive number of submissions this year, assessing each project's complexity, use of innovative construction techniques and client satisfaction, among other criteria. The awards, which were announced during the association's annual convention in Las Vegas, are considered by many to be the most prestigious recognition of construction accomplishments in the U.S.
The AGC Build America Marvin M. Black Partnering Award (now represented by a category within the Alliant Build America Awards) is presented annually to construction project(s) that epitomize the principles of partnering. Inspired by AGC's Past President Marvin M. Black, the inclusion of partnering into the Build America Awards represents a timely and unified celebration of the construction industry's finest.
AGC in the Community Award winners are selected by a panel of judges representing all areas of construction. Award entries were evaluated based on the level of commitment, the scope of the philanthropic efforts and the quality of the benefits to the community.